FOX 2 (WJBK) - United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain spoke about the tentative agreement with Stellantis Thursday night - celebrating historic gains.
The deal parallels the Ford contract in many ways.
The new agreement has a 25 percent wage increase which Vice President Rich Boyer said, is greater than the 23 percent wage increase from 2001 to 2022 combined. Cost of living increases were also met for both salaried and hourly workers, he added.
UAW President Shawn Fain called it the most lucrative contract the union has won in decades.
"When COLA is added in, we estimate that our wages will increase by 33 percent," Boyer said.
The UAW estimates starting wages for production workers will increase by 67 percent from $18.04 to $30.10 per hour combined with COLA. The top wages will increase by 33 percent from $31.77 to $42.44 an hour.
All UAW members receive a $5,000 ratification bonus, which Fain called a "pot sweetener."
The deal also promises that the idled Belvidere plant won’t be that way forever.
"Not only have we saved Belvidere, we’ve shown that these companies can re-open plants if we unite and fight to force them to," Fain said. "We knew that record profits meant record contracts."
The deal between Stellantis and the UAW includes close to 19 billion dollars in US investments by the company.
Stellantis had a plan to cut jobs up to 5,000 deep and shrink its footprint, Fain said. Under the agreement job cuts were stopped, as well as 5,000 jobs added.
"And the right to strike means we can protect these jobs with our most powerful tool," Fain said. "We forced the company to change course in places like Trenton Engine and Toledo Machining where they wanted to cut - we made them invest."
Consistently analysts and Fain himself have been adamant the fight for strong contracts between the union and the big three is about more than just GM, Ford, and Stellantis to him it’s about the labor movement in general noting recent announcements about wage increases from Toyota.
"Toyota isn’t giving out raises out of the goodness of their heart," Fain said. "Imagine what you can accomplish if you join the UAW and stand up and fight for yourselves."
Brian Rothenberg a former UAW spokesperson noted the labor movement might in some ways be revitalized by what happened with the union's big wins.
"They’re going be under pressure to unionize Toyota, Honda and Subaru."
Now UAW Stellantis members will vote on whether to ratify the deal. Dr. Marick Masters estimates as a result of the new contracts for all three automakers labor costs will increase by more than a billion dollars for each.
Fain said that the expiration date of the new agreement is set for April 30, 2028 with Stellantis.
"That's why we went into bargaining with Stellantis and demanded an expiration date of April 30th, 2028," Fain said. "Our goal is to come back to the table in 2028 a much stronger union a much louder union. and a much larger union."