Published On: Fri, Nov 10th, 2023

Autoworkers hesitate on new contracts despite ‘record’ pay increases

Autoworkers hesitate on new contracts despite ‘record’ pay increases
Autoworkers hesitate on new contracts despite ‘record’ pay increases


Workers at Ford, Stellantis and General Motors are weighing in on the new contracts proposed by their union and the Big Three — and a few of them seem unsatisfied with what they’re being offered.

UAW Local 598, which represents workers and retirees at a General Motors truck plant in Flint, Michigan, said Thursday that 51.8% of its members voted to reject the deal. Production workers in the chapter narrowly opposed the new contract, while a smaller group of skilled workers strongly supported it.

Another group of GM employees, UAW Local 659, said Tuesday that production workers at the Flint engine operations plant also voted against the deal by a 52% to 48% margin. Other parts of the chapter were strongly in favor, however.

The proposed contracts were negotiated after members of the UAW went on strike for more than six weeks. If majorities at each automaker approve, the pacts will last through April 30, 2028. Union members will get an 11% initial wage increase and a total pay increase of 25% over the course of the 4½ year deal. The new contracts also reinstate cost-of-living adjustments, let workers reach top wages in three years instead of eight, and protect their right to strike over plant closures.

Both the United Auto Workers and the carmakers described the deals as “record” contracts based on those pay increases.

While some union chapters have posted their vote totals on social media, others have not disclosed them, and the UAW will only make the final results public. So it’s hard to know what the negative votes say about the odds the contracts will be approved.

Compared to GM, Ford employees seem a bit more enthusiastic. Ford was the first of the Big Three to reach an agreement with the UAW, and its members are scheduled to finish voting on the proposed contact Nov. 17.

The first group of Ford employees to weigh in was Local 900 at the Michigan assembly plant, which was the first Ford plant to go on strike. The UAW said 82% of those members voted to ratify the contract, with more than 3,000 ‘yes’ votes.


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