Jeep maker Stellantis reached a tentative contract agreement Saturday with the United Auto Workers union that follows the model established by Ford earlier this week, as strikes against General Motors spread to a plant in Tennessee.
The agreement, which has not yet been ratified by members, only leaves GM without an agreement with the union. But the union went on strike Saturday night at GM’s plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in an attempt to increase pressure on the company to reach an agreement.
The agreement with Stellantis is similar to the agreement reached earlier this week with Ford. The union claims the contract also saves jobs at a plant in Belvidere, Illinois, that Stellantis had planned to close.
GM said it was disappointed by the additional strike at the Spring Hill Assembly Plant and powertrain plant “given the progress we have made.” The company stressed in a statement that it had negotiated in good faith with the union and wanted to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
Spring Hill is GM’s largest plant in North America at 11 million square feet and about 4,000 employees. There, it manufactures the Cadillac Lyriq electric car, in addition to the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 and XT6 SUVs.
A message seeking comment from the union was left Saturday night.
UAW President Shawn Fain confirmed the agreement with Stellantis in a video appearance Saturday night and reiterated that the company’s 43,000 workers who are union members have not yet put the deal to a vote.
About 14,000 UAW workers who were on strike at two Stellantis assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio, and at several parts distribution centers across the country, have been asked to return to their jobs. The agreement thus ends a six-week strike at the manufacturer of Jeep and Ram vehicles.
The Ford agreement includes comprehensive wage increases of 25% over the next four and a half years for workers in major assembly plants, and 11% once the deal is ratified. Workers would also receive cost-of-living wages that would push raises to more than 30%, leaving the most skilled workers at assembly plants earning more than $40 an hour. At Stellantis, these workers earn about $31 per hour.
Like the contract with Ford, the contract reached with Stellantis will run until April 30, 2028.
According to the union, jobs were saved under the agreement at Belvedere, as well as at an engine plant in Trenton, Michigan, and a machinery plant in Toledo, Ohio.
“We did the impossible. We moved mountains. We reopened the assembly plant that had been closed,” Finn said.
The deal includes Stellantis’ commitment to building a new midsize truck at its Belvidere, Illinois, plant, which was scheduled to close. About 1,200 workers will be rehired, in addition to another 1,000 workers who will join a new electric vehicle battery factory, according to the union.
“We are bringing combustion vehicle and electric vehicle jobs back to Belvidere,” Fine added.
Democratic US Representative Bill Foster, who represents Belvedere in Congress, confirmed that he had received indications that electric cars would be produced at the site, which would be expanded to include a new battery factory. Stellantis closed the plant indefinitely in the spring and laid off 1,350 employees who worked there.
Bruce Boomhauer, the local union president at the massive Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, which has been on strike since September, said he hoped workers would vote in favor of the deal because of wage increases of more than 30% and a sharp increase. Immediate salary.
He said: “11% is very good. In my opinion, it is a historic agreement.”
Some union members have complained that Fine promised 40 percent raises to match what he said were given to company CEOs, but Boomhauer said that was the initial offer from UAW President Sean Fine.
“Anyone who knows anything about negotiations always starts much higher than they think it’s realistic to get,” he said.
Jermaine Antoine and other striking Stellantis workers outside the Sterling Heights, Michigan, plant were jubilant Saturday after hearing news of a tentative agreement.
“Anytime a tentative agreement is reached, it’s a good thing,” said Antwin, 48, of Pontiac, Michigan. “It shows that both sides have reached a mutual agreement somewhere within the numbers they started with.”
“In the end, the numbers they settled on are what the UAW wanted,” said Antwin, who has been with the auto company for 24 years and is a materials team leader at the Sterling Heights plant.
The union and Stellantis began intensive negotiations on Thursday, the day after announcing the agreement with Ford, and concluded the agreement on Saturday.
More than 18,000 General Motors workers went on strike at its plants in Texas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee.
The union began targeted strikes against the three automakers on September 15 after their contracts with the companies expired. At the height of the strike, about 46,000 workers went on strike against the three companies, about a third of the 146,000 union members at the three Detroit plants. Automakers have laid off several thousand additional workers as parts shortages spread throughout their manufacturing systems.
Tom Krischer reported from Detroit, Helelujah Hadero from Jersey City, New Jersey, and Corey Williams from Sterling Heights, Michigan.
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