Two days after Ford Motor said it had reached a deal offering major concessions to its employees, Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Jeep and Ram, announced on Saturday that it also had reached a tentative deal with members of the United Auto Workers. The union has been organizing a slowly expanding strike at American auto plants since Sept. 15, when the last contract expired, hoping to ramp up pressure on Detroit’s big three automakers. The union declared victory on Saturday after the deal was announced, calling it “a record contract.”
The deal, which is tentative and still needs to be ratified by a union council elected by Stellantis employees, calls for a 25 percent pay increase, and includes the possibility of cost-of-living increases to fight inflation.
“We truly believe that we got every penny possible out of this company,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in a video the union released. “We left nothing on the table.”
The contract also reportedly includes a requirement that Stellantis, which was created out of a merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot, reopen a truck plant in Belvidere, Ill. and keep open another plant in Michigan. The terms of the agreement are similar to a tentative deal signed between the UAW and Ford last week, which also included a 25 percent pay increase, and large increases to the starting wages for factory workers.
The tentative agreements send workers who were striking at the two companies back to work; meanwhile, the heat is rising for General Motors, with the UAW calling for an expansion of the strike against that company. Last Monday, the UAW expanded its strike against Stellantis, shutting down production of the popular Jeep line of autos and trucks. At its peak, the UAW strike has taken 46,000 workers off the production line—about one-third of its total membership.
Shortly after the deal with Stellantis was announced, the UAW called a surprise strike at GM a plant in Tennessee. However, the remaining striking UAW members at GM plants may soon return to their jobs as well: the Detroit Free Press reported on Saturday that people familiar with negotiations between the UAW and GM management have already largely agreed on terms similar to the Ford and Stellantis deals.