The United Auto Workers have reached a tentative contract agreement with Stellantis, the union announced Saturday evening, edging the labor union closer to ending a 6-week strike that has dented Detroit’s Big 3 automakers and idled thousands of their employees.
“On day 44 of our stand-up strike, I am honored to announce that our union is again victorious,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video posted to social media.
Stellantis Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart also confirmed the deal in a statement to CBS News, who said the company looks forward to “welcoming our 43,000 employees back to work and resuming operations.”
The deal with Stellantis — which owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, along with several foreign auto-brands — comes three days after the UAW came to, leaving only General Motors without a contract with the union.
Less than an hour after news of the deal was announced, UAW confirmed it was expanding its GM strike to the Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant, which employs nearly 4,000 workers, which manufactures Cadillac and GMC SUVs.
The agreement with Stellantis, which must still be ratified by UAW members, could bring thousands of workers back to their posts at assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio, and at vehicle parts warehouses across the nation.
Similar to the Ford workers’ tentative deal, Stellantis’s includes 25% general wage increases over the life of the four-and-a-half-year contract. Top wager-earners will see their earnings grow to more than $42 per hour, the union said, and the starting wage will increase over that time period by over 67%, to over $30 per hour.
UAW Vice President Rich Boyer also said that as part of the deal, Stellantis has also agreed to reopen its Belvidere, Illinois plant,in February.
“It is with my great honor to announce that we saved Belvidere,” Boyer said. “From the strength of our stand-up strike, we will bring back thousands of jobs to Belvidere.”
Boyer said that along with reopening the Belvidere plant, Stellantis has also agreed to open a new Belvidere battery plant which will create about 1,000 new jobs.
“I applaud the UAW and Stellantis for coming together after hard fought, good faith negotiations to reach a historic agreement that will guarantee workers the pay, benefits, dignity and respect they deserve,” President Biden said in a statement Saturday.
Talks between Stellantis and the union, which included Stellantis Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart and UAW President Shawn Fain “went into the late evening” on Friday, sources close to the negotiations confirmed to CBS News.
Like workers at Ford, UAW leaders called on strikers at Stellantis to take down their picket lines and start returning to work in the coming days before their union members vote.
Fain said the UAW Stellantis National Council will now vote on whether to send the tentative deal to members. Meetings will be held next week to explain the details of what is in the contract, before members take a final vote on whether to ratify it.
Acting Labor Secretary Julie A. Su in a statement congratulated “Stellantis and the UAW for their dedication and focus in coming together to reach” a deal.
“The parties are also charting a future of good middle-class jobs in battery manufacturing, consistent with the President’s vision for a just transition where building a clean economy and creating good union jobs go hand-in-hand.”
But the UAW’s historic strike — the first time the labor group has targeted the Big Three simultaneously — began when thousands of workers walked off the job after their contracts with the automakers expired on Sept. 14. The union’s demands included a 36% wage hike over four years; annual cost-of-living adjustments; pension benefits for all employees; greater job security; and a faster path to full-time status for temporary workers.
The dispute has also featured tough talk from Fain, who has called out the automaker CEOs for pinching pennies with workers while collecting lavish pay packages.
The aggressive tactics have yielded noteworthy breakthroughs for the UAW. Under their deal, Ford workers will receive a 25% pay bump over the 4.5-year life of the contract. Meanwhile, GM earlier this month agreed to placeunder a national contract with the UAW. Still, workers have also paid the price, with the automakers laying off thousands of employees.
Workers who participated in the strike have been paid through the union’s strike fund.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.