DETROIT (AP) - The 6-week-old strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union could be inching closer to an end as the Associated Press is reporting that Ford and the UAW are edging closer to a tentative agreement, which could be critical to ending the strike.
The AP is citing two people with knowledge of the talks, who said that the union made a counter-offer to Ford that proposes a 25% general wage increase over the life of the four-year contract. Those two sources also said that talks between both sides on Tuesday went well into Wednesday morning.
A Ford deal would include cost-of-living pay increases that could lift the total pay raises above 30%, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the talks. In addition, workers would still receive annual profit-sharing checks.
It’s still possible that the negotiations, despite the meaningful progress being made, could unravel. But if the UAW can reach a tentative agreement with Ford, it would be used as a model to seek similar contract settlements with GM and Stellantis. Typically, during past auto strikes, a UAW deal with one automaker has led the other companies to match it with their own settlements.
The union struck against Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors on Sept. 15, initiating a stand-up strike against Detroit's Big Three Automakers. The unique nature of this strike led to UAW President Shawn Fain calling on select union members to join picket lines when called to do so.
The past three union chapters called on to strike have all been the largest plants for each of the Big Three. On October 11, 8,700 UAW workers at Ford's F-series plant in Kentucky walked off the job. Last week, the union did not call on any new members to strike. But that changed this week.
On Monday, the UAW walked out 6,800 members of Stellantis' Sterling Heights Assembly.
Then on Tuesday, 5,000 UAW members at GM's Arlington Assembly Texas walked off the job, hitting the plant that makes GM's most popular vehicles.
Of the roughly 150,000 UAW members, 45,000 are currently on strike while the Big Three have collectively laid off a total of more than 7,500 employees.
The news of the movement of a possible deal with Ford could signal the beginning of the end, meaning those 52,500+ employees could get back to work sooner rather than later.