United Autoworkers Union : Members Back Big 3 Deals

Workers picketed at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Center, near St. Louis, one of the first three plants to strike. They were out for six weeks. Photo: UAW.

Reprinted from labornotes.org

After a six-week escalating strike, the Auto Workers (UAW) ratified agreements with each of the Big 3 automakers. The deals are a sharp about-face from decades of concessions. The Big 3 are GM, Stallantis and Fords.

The new contracts go further than many people thought possible, on issues that the companies had insisted were off the table. Stellantis agreed to reopen its idled Belvidere, Illinois, assembly plant. The companies will include most new battery plant workers in their master agreements.

While the contracts don’t abolish tiers for benefits, they mostly get rid of the wage tiers the Big 3 had created to drive down pay. Some workers will see their pay more than double.

The gains are a testament to the UAW’s aggressive strategy under its new leaders, which ramped up the strikes slowly at first and then faster until the companies caved one by one. The strategy threw the companies off guard and kept them guessing throughout.
The ‘Stand-Up Strike’ began September 15th when 13,000 workers walked out at three Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis assembly plants; by the end it grew to 50,000, out of 146,000 UAW members at the Big 3. The agreements came after a major escalation: striking each company’s most profitable truck plant.

Workers have approved the deals at GM, Ford, and Stellantis.

At Ford and Stellantis, two-thirds voted in favour. But at GM, the numbers were close. Just 55 percent of workers voted yes, reflecting workers’ heightened expectations and frustration with years of givebacks. Many higher-seniority assembly plant workers at all three companies voted no, saying the raises and retirement gains were not enough.

“They wanted higher increases in pay, higher than the 25 percent, and they wanted it all up front,” said Katie Deatherage, the recently elected president of Local 2250 at GM’s plant in Wentzville, Missouri. “Pensions and post-retirement health care were a huge topic and have been for a long long time.”

Deatherage estimates that 70 to 75 percent of workers at her plant have been hired since 2007, meaning they don’t get a pension or retiree health care. Still, in her 20 years at GM, “it’s the best contract I’ve seen in my career.” She voted yes.


The UAW says each year of each deal is worth more to members than the entire 2019 contract. In fact, according to the union, the new deals are worth more than the last four contracts combined.

They include 25 percent wage increases over four and a half years, including 11 percent immediately, and they reinstate cost-of-living adjustments, a major goal. Combined, that will bring top pay for production workers above $42 by 2028, up from the current $32, while skilled trades will earn more than $50 an hour. Starting pay for permanent workers will rise from $18 to $28.

Many workers will see larger increases. It will now take three years to get to top pay, rather than eight, and members currently on this progression will get immediate 20 to 46 percent bumps.

Workers at the many plants that had been on a lower wage scale, such as axle and components plants and parts distribution centers, will now be on the same scale as other Big 3 workers. This includes GM Subsystems, an invented category where GM employees in the same plants were under separate, inferior contracts.

Workers in these plants had been on a lower tier in many cases since 2007; for example, two Ford axle plants worked under a $16.25 to $22.50 scale. They’ll see immediate raises of 53 to 88 percent. These groups were voting heavily in favor of the deals.

Full-time temporary workers with more than 90 days’ service will be converted to permanent status immediately. Future temps will become permanent employees after nine months, and those nine months will count toward their progression to top rate. For two decades the Big 3 have kept temps on for years at low wages; if they were finally “rolled over” to regular status, they would have to wait another eight years for top pay.

Temps will also be eligible for profit-sharing and the $5,000 ratification bonus for the first time.


To completely end tiers would require that second-tier workers, those hired since 2007, get pensions and retiree health care, as first-tier workers do. The Big 3 did not agree to either of these proposals, complaining of significant long-term liabilities.

Instead the companies will put 10 percent of each worker’s pay into a 401(k), a big increase from the current 6.4 percent, with no match required. The union also won the first increase to the pension multiplier (for workers hired before 2007) since 2003.

The union was able to eliminate the tiered vacation system at GM. Workers hired since 2007 will now be eligible for five weeks’ vacation after 20 years; previously they were capped at four. At Ford and Stellantis, the union won an agreement that the company can only force workers to use one week of vacation during shutdowns, giving workers more ability to schedule their vacations when they choose. But at Stellantis, workers will now be forced to use some of their vacation and personal time to cover FMLA leave.


The UAW and Stellantis reached a deal on October 28th, three days after Ford.
One big issue was the status of the Belvidere Assembly plant in Illinois, which Stellantis had idled earlier this year, forcing 1,200 workers to disperse to other plants. The new agreement will bring jobs back to Belvidere, where the two shifts will produce a midsize truck.

Stellantis will also add 1,000 jobs at a new battery plant there. “Under our contract, members from Belvidere who have been scattered across this country will have the right to return back home,” said UAW Vice President Rich Boyer.

The union won the right to strike over any failures by the companies to live up to the investments and products they promised for various plants, as well as over plant closures. “That means if the company goes back on their word on any of these plans, we can strike the hell out of them,” said UAW President Shawn Fain.

One surprise bonus: the companies will pay each striker $110 a day for their time on the picket line, on top of the union’s $500 a week strike pay.


At Ford, the union had wanted a pledge that all electric vehicle plants, including joint ventures, would be brought under the master agreement that covers existing UAW members at the company. It extracted a pledge to recognise the union at two plants now under construction, the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center and the Marshall Battery Plant in Michigan, if a majority of workers sign union cards (what US union organisers call “card check”). This should be easy for the UAW.

Ford is planning three other battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, jointly owned with South Korea’s SK On and scheduled to start production in 2025.

There, it appears the union will have to organise the old-fashioned way.

At GM and Stellantis, the gains on electric vehicles were greater. Both agreed to put workers at their joint venture battery plants under their master agreements. “They told us for years that the electric vehicle transition was a death sentence for good auto jobs in this country,” Fain said. “With this agreement, we’re proving them all wrong.”

To get these workers under the master agreement, the UAW agreed that new hires at battery plants will make 75 percent of the top rate for workers at assembly plants (though workers who transfer there will keep their top pay). That’s still a big step up: production workers at GM’s Ultium joint venture in Lordstown, Ohio, will see immediate $6 to $8 increases, on top of the $3 to $4 the union won earlier this year. Starting wages stood at $16 earlier this year; they’ll now be $27. Ultium workers voted 97 percent in favor of the new contract.


The automakers were likely counting on these deals to sail through, but members at many assembly plants had other thoughts.

At Ford and Stellantis, 68 percent of workers voted in favor of the deal, according to the UAW’s vote tracker, with a few plants yet to count. But workers at the largest Ford plant, Kentucky Truck, voted the deal down by 55 percent. Kentucky Truck was the last Ford plant to be called out on strike. At the first, Michigan Assembly near Detroit, the local voted 82 percent yes.

“In our plant, it’s a little torn,” said Julian Thomas, who has worked assembly and repair for 10 years at Toledo Jeep, a major Stellantis plant, in advance of the vote there on November 15th “A lot of full-timers are leaning no. A lot of temps are leaning yes. Even on my line, some people just want to get back to make money, and other people say, ‘This isn’t everything we could get.’” The Jeep plant was on strike for six weeks.

“It’s been an every-day debate on the lines,” said Thomas, with some members bringing printouts of Stellantis profits to argue the company could afford a better deal on wages and retirement.

Toledo Jeep workers ultimately voted 55 percent against the deal. But the contract passed at all five other Stellantis U.S. assembly plants, with yes votes ranging from 61 to 85 percent.

At GM, the vote was much closer: only 54.6 percent of members voted in favor. Two-thirds voted no at the Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant. Workers also voted no at most of GM’s other assembly plants, including the plant in Wentzville, Missouri, which was the first to strike. But the contract got support from 60 percent of workers at GM’s largest plant, in Arlington, Texas, which had been on strike just a few days, as well as heavy support from parts depots and components and battery plants.

“At GM, a lot more people are still angry about what happened in 2019 when we went on strike for six weeks and we basically didn’t get anything,” said Jaron Garza, a skilled trades worker at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

Scott Houldieson, who’s worked as an electrician at Ford Chicago Assembly for 34 years, supported the agreement. (He is chair of the caucus Unite All Workers for Democracy, UAWD, which opted for a neutral stance.) “It was a strike that was trying to dig us out of 40 years of concessions, 40 years of cooperating with the companies, 40 years of corruption,” Houldieson said.

“We didn’t get it all. But nobody should expect to get it all in one set of contract negotiations. We won record wage increases, we got back COLA [cost-of-living adjustment]. Ending wage tiers is huge. We got our foot in the door with the transition to electric vehicles.”

MAY DAY 2028

The new contracts will expire April 30, 2028. That’s four and a half years, a little longer than the previous four-year agreements.

Fain said the UAW wants to give time for other unions to align their contract expirations with the UAW and strike together on May 1, 2028—International Workers’ Day. “If we’re going to truly take on the billionaire class and rebuild the economy so that it starts to work for the benefit of the many and not the few,” Fain said, “then it’s important that we not only strike, but that we strike together.”

The other reason for the longer contract, Fain said, is the union’s plan to organise the many nonunion automakers: Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Nissan, and others.

Within days of the new agreements, non-union automakers were calling emergency meetings and scrambling to hike wages. Toyota raised pay by 9.2 percent and cut its progression from six years to three; Honda announced an 11 percent increase; and Hyundai boosted wages by 6.5 percent, on top of a 3.5 percent increase in March.
Meanwhile, the UAW says that literally thousands of workers at non-union plants have reached out or signed cards online to join the union. “It’s not a hot shop, it’s a molten shop,” said one insider.


Fain was elected this year in the UAW’s first-ever one-member, one-vote election, after a corruption scandal landed two recent presidents in jail. His victory ended eight decades of one-party rule.

Fain’s slate was organised by the UAWD caucus, which had formed in 2019 to agitate for the right to vote. The slate ran on a winning platform of “No Corruption, No Concessions, No Tiers.” When Fain narrowly beat incumbent Ray Curry, he took office less than six months before Big 3 contracts expired.

As president, Fain finally took the union back on the offensive, with the enthusiastic backing of UAWD members. “For decades, we’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind our back,” he said in announcing the Stellantis agreement. “And to tell you the truth, sometimes it felt like both hands.”

Fain broadcast weekly bargaining updates via Facebook Live, breaking with the UAW practice of sharing no information before a tentative agreement was reached. The transparency and boldness won members over—Fain’s videos regularly had 40,000 to 50,000 live viewers on Facebook and more on other platforms.

And he never hesitated to raise members’ expectations, laying out demands for a 40 percent wage increase, a 32-hour week, and restoration of pensions and retiree health care.

Coming off the strike, the UAW is in a much different place from six months ago: on the offensive, framing its battles as fights for the entire working class, and using power as it hasn’t done in many years.

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United Autoworkers Make Organising Top Priority

Following the successful outcome of the disputes with the three big US auto manufacturers over the past months in which the United Autoworkers won most of its demands from employers, the tentative agreements are currently being voted on across the USA by members working at Fords, Stellantis and General Motors.

In a  livestream address to UAW members on what was won in the tentative agreements UAW president Shawn Fain said the union now had to move forward and begin organising non-union auto manufacturing plants in the US, including Tesla and German companies who have resisted unionisation.

Fain said: “Already, thousands of non-union autoworkers are inspired by our victory and starting to organise. Non-union automakers like Toyota are raising wages because they know their workers are ready to stand up. It goes far beyond the Big Three.

He told UAW members: “What we win back in our pay checks is much more than just a dollar amount. What we win in these contracts is a reflection of our strength as a united working class. What we won in these agreements is a new muscle, a new chapter in the story of the UAW, a new understanding of our collective power. We don’t just win when we get a raise. We win when working people everywhere start to understand our shared interest and our shared fight. We win when workers at Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai and other companies see what we’ve achieved and get ready to stand up for themselves.”

In an exclusive message sent to the Morning Star who gave their full backing to the UAW  Fain said: “Fighting and winning is contagious.  The best thing we can do for one another is show each other how to be brave, how to be creative, and how to Stand Up for economic and social justice. That’s what our Stand Up Strike was about. We needed to fight like we never fought before – and win like we’ve never won before. We had doubters. We had naysayers. And we had enemies. But we also had champions. We had leaders. We had organisers.

 I don’t mean people like me. People who get on TV. Or people who wear suits. I mean the workers who really run these companies and members who really run the union. People who fight like their life depends on it, because it does.

 People who take the word “solidarity” and make it mean something. Workers from more than 50 unions in 26 countries took action to support our strike, from as far away as Malaysia and as close as our backyard neighbours in Mexico. 

The foreign press and union press got the word out to every corner of the globe.  These important acts of international solidarity undoubtedly sent a message to the companies that we have power, that the working class is ready to Stand Up everywhere.”


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UAW : GM Deal Gives Big Win In Disputes With Big 3 US Automakers

UAW President Shawn Fain leads union to victory with the Big 3 automakers in the USA.

The UAW has reached a historic tentative agreement with General Motors that paves the way for a just transition and wins record economic gains for autoworkers.  

This follows agreements reached with Ford and Stellantis.

The GM settlement along with agreements reached with Ford and Stellantis amounts to a massive win for the United Autoworkers whose campaign of strategic Stand Up Strikes by union members at the Big 3 US Auto manufacturers.  

US media outlets are describing the settlements and disputes with the Big 3 as a ‘big win’ for the United Autoworkers.

The GM agreement includes gains valued at more than four times the gains from the union’s 2019 contract. It provides more in base wage increases than GM workers have received in the past 22 years.  

The GM also brings into the master agreement all US Joint Venture battery manufacturing plants.

This represents a “leapfrog” in negotiations from GM, putting the company in front of others in terms of their offer to UAW, but then GM ended up being the last to come to a final agreement.

Batteries are an important win for UAW because in discussions over this strike, interviewers have repeatedly goaded UAW President Shawn Fain to  blame electric vehicles them for the problems facing the auto industries and UAW members.

Fain refused to take the bait insisting that the UAW is looking for a “just transition” to electric vehicles that ensures workers still get treated fairly as the industry is upended.

The agreement provides for 25% in base wage increases through April 2028, and will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33% compounded with estimated cost of living adjustment (COLA) to over $42 an hour. The starting wage will increase by 70% compounded with estimated COLA, to over $30 an hour. 

The GM agreement ends wage tiers that have divided the union. It will lift up those members who have been left behind and unify our membership for the fights ahead.  The deal also brings battery production workers into the Master Agreement. Both of these groups have been left out of the Master Agreement, and have been told they would never come in. 

Many thought GM would never put more money on the table for their hundreds of thousands of retirees. In this agreement, however, GM has agreed to make five payments of $500 to current retirees and surviving spouses, the first such payments in over 15 years. 

The agreement reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including Cost-of-Living Allowances and a three-year Wage Progression, as well as killing divisive wage tiers in the union. It improves retirement for current retirees, those workers with pensions, and those who have 401(k) plans. Like the other two, the GM deal includes a right to strike over plant closures. 

GM workers will return to work while the agreement goes through the ratification process, with the UAW National GM Council convening in Detroit to review the agreement.  

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Updated: IF Metall members in Sweden strike at Tesla – unions line up in support

Over 120 Tesla mechanics  in Sweden have commenced strike action after the company refused to agree to union recognition and collective bargaining. It is expected that sales staff who are members of the Unionen union will strike this coming week. 

The IF Metall union said : “Over a long period of time, (one year) we have attempted to discuss with Tesla the signing of a collective agreement, yet without success. Now we see no solution other than to take industrial action. We want our members at Tesla to have the same decent and safe working conditions as the members at other similar companies in Sweden.” 

“Even though we have taken industrial action, it is our sincere hope that Tesla will finally start negotiating and sign a collective agreement for their plants in Sweden. Tesla is a global leader in the green transition. We hope that they will be willing to express the same level of leadership regarding working conditions for their employees and our members. We strive for and look forward to a swift solution.”

The Swedish transport workers union whose members are involved in the transportation and unloading of vehicles at Sweden’s docks and harbours have issued a warning there will take secondary action  with vessels carrying Tesla vehicles will remain unloaded.

Negotiations with Tesla with official mediators present broke up when company representatives told the union and mediators they did not have authority to sign an agreement, as the decision had to be be made at the highest level in California.

IF Metall President Marie Nilsson

IF President Marie Nilsson said: “We have had no success in our efforts and are now left with no option other than to strike.”

Tesla is notoriously anti union. The company with 120,000 employees have threatened workers with ‘retaliation’  if they form a union and seek a collective agreement.

Atle Hoie the General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union said: ‘Elon Musk’s business model is to avoid respecting  human rights. We must defeat the Tesla business model and Sweden is the best place to start.’

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UAW Reach Tentative Deal With Ford’s In Big 3 Dispute

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union say they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with Ford’s –  the first of Detroit’s Big Three car manufacturers to negotiate a settlement to strikes joined by 45,000 workers since mid-September.

The proposed accord, which the UAW’s leadership must still approve, provides a 25% wage  increase over the 4-1/2-year contract, starting with an initial increase of 11%.

The Ford deal, which could help create a template for settlements of parallel UAW strikes against General Motors and Stellantis would amount to total pay increases of more than 33% when compounding and cost-of-living mechanisms are factored in, the UAW said.

“We told Ford to pony up and they did,” said UW President Shawn Fain  in a video post on Facebook, adding that the strike at Ford “has delivered”.

In addition to the general wage increase Fain said the lowest-paid temporary workers would see raises of more than 150% over the contract term and employees would reach top pay after three years. The union also won the right to strike over future plant closures, he said.

The UAW also succeeded in eliminating lower-pay tiers for workers in certain parts operations at Ford – an issue Fain highlighted from the start of the bargaining process, wearing T-shirts with the slogan “End Tiers.”

The Ford contract would reverse concessions the union agreed to in a series of contracts since 2007, when GM and the former Chrysler were skidding toward bankruptcy, and Ford was mortgaging assets to stay afloat.

“We know it breaks records,” Fain said in a video address  “We know it will change lives. But what happens next is up to you all.”

Ford said it was “pleased” to have reached the deal and was focused on restarting its plants in Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois that were shut down after workers walked off the job.

16,600 Ford workers on strike will return to work in advance of the vote by membership. 29,000 workers at Stellantis and General Motors will remain on strike.

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German Union IG Metall Elects First Ever Woman Union Head

A Profile Of Christiane Benner, President Of IG Metall

Germany’s 2.2 million strong metals, engineering, electrical and textiles union has this week elected Christiane Benner to be the union’s president (the head of the union)  at its Congress in Frankfurt. The first woman to hold the post in IG Metall Benner is now arguably the most powerful trade union leader in Europe.  Asked why it took so long for woman to head the union she replies: “Ask the men”.

Previously the union’s ‘second chairwoman’ (vice president) she climbed her way to the top after joining the union in her early 20s when she was working as a foreign-language secretary at a German mechanical engineering firm. 

Benner has an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree from Philipps University of Marburg and an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree from Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and has also studied in the USA.

She won the top job  at the union’s congress securing 96.4% of delegates votes – which itself marks a significant break with traditions in the union. 

The core national collective agreement in the metals and engineering industries in Germany is based on ‘pattern bargaining’  with a agreement usually reached between the employers organisation in manufacturing and the union in  the Baden Württemberg region, the home of many large German manufacturing companies including Mercedes Benz, Daimler, Siemens, Bosch, Samsung, BMW and many other multinational corporations which is then applied across Germany.

Previous presidents of IG Metall have almost always come from Baden Württemberg and they had previously lead collective bargaining with the German manufacturing employers body and major companies in the region.

IG Metall’s core membership is in male dominated manufacturing industries and companies including autos, aerospace, steel, mechanical and electrical engineering and their supply chains. Women make up just 20% of the union membership. 

Benner’s industrial base has been in the white collar, IT and technical sections of the union. 

She was touted to head up the DGB (the German equivalent of the TUC) a post she declined, and following internal wrangling at the top of the union Benner emerged as the sole candidate to lead the union.

She accepts that the union faces tough challenges including dealing with the underlying problems in the German economy and the growth of non union manufacturing plants. She told union delegates: ”The most important thing is keeping industry in Germany and Europe. We’re seeing a creeping dismantling of industry and jobs,” 

To prevent a the de-industrialisation of Europe’s biggest economy Benner favour’s discounted electricity prices for industrial firms, tackling the shortage of skilled workers and foot-dragging on digitisation which act as a drag anchor on the once booming German economy.

Another problem is that more than 2.6 million young people in Germany under the age of 35 have no vocational qualifications – despite a growing demand for highly skilled workers as digital technologies and  AI transforms German businesses.

She has called for an increase the number of apprenticeships and to make training and skills more attractive to young people and women with better work-life balance, a four-day 32 hours work week and a narrowing of the gender pay gap.

One of her other urgent tasks is to unionise Tesla in Germany, where Elon Musk has resisted unionisation. She publicly warned Musk:  “You need to be careful. The rules of the game are different here”. 

Under German legislation unions have a legal right to represent workers and bargain on their behalf where workers support unionisation. 

Tesla’s Model Y vehicle is built at their Brandenburg plant where IG Metall say membership is growing and where workers have long complained about poor health and safety conditions and extreme workloads caused by staff shortages and heavy production targets.

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Has the spark gone out of e-truck manufacturing?

Volta joins a growing list of electric vehicle manufacturers who have pulled the plug on their vans and trucks.

Volta’s potential customers in its testing programme, included Marks & Spencer, DB Shenker and DSV with their engineering and development largely carried out in the UK. However, the collapse of its battery supplier Proterra (a maker of electric commercial vehicles) severely disrupted its supply chain.

The Banbury-based electric van pioneer Arrival announced it was laying off 800 of its UK staff and it plans to focus its new XL van in the USA where the market enjoys greater government subsidy.

Other companies who have gone to the wall nclude US-based Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS), which re-worked Wuling Chinese vehicles for the US market, and Lordstown, a high-profile pick-up truck manufacturer based in a former GM plant in Ohio.

It appears the UK and global demand for commercial EVs, particularly for urban deliveries, is not as great as anticipated. But in the UK battery electric van registrations grew 18.9% in August and a total of 11,414 zero-emission EV vans have been registered so far this year in the UK – up 16.4% on the same period in 2022.

Retailers and couriers seem to be buying EV versions of existing commercial vehicles, rather than new specialist vehicles from new start ups. 

The £100m investment made in EV production at a former GM plant at Ellesmere Port has seen the production star on the Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroën e-Berlingo and Fiat E-Doblò vans.

The Essex-based electric vehicle company Tevva delivered its first 7.5-tonne battery-electric truck to Kinaxia Logistics in September 2022 and in January this year, it won EC approval for its new truck. Tevva has had its share of financial issues, and a merger with ElectraMeccanica has just fallen through, but vehicle deliveries continue.

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UAW – Big 3 Strike – International Solidarity

The latest expansion of the Stand Up Strike was called at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant. It is among the most profitable plants, producing the Super Duty pickup and the Expedition. UAW gave short notice to Ford management about the decision.

“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” said President Fain. “It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three. If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”

Friday, October 13: In a live stream to the membership, President Fain wore a jacket gifted from the Italian Union FIOM. He thanked the leadership of FIOM as well as representatives from Unite the Union in the UK and IndustriALL Global Union for traveling to the United States to join our members in solidarity on the picket lines. FIOM and UNITE represent workers at Stellantis and Ford among other automakers in Europe. GM workers from the Brazilian union CSP Conlutas also joined works on the picket lines this week to show their solidarity.

President Fain stated, “Our fight is not just about us. It is about the working class. Our companies exploit workers across boarders…The UAW stands for all workers in the fight for economic and social justice.”

President Fain noted that he would not be announcing a further expansion of the Stand Up Strike, but that the UAW will enter a new phase of it. He explained the decision to surprise Ford with a walkout at the Kentucky Truck Plant.

“We did it the way we did for a simple reason, the companies started to wait until Friday to make substantial progress in bargaining… Ford only became interested in gaming our system of announcing strike expansions on Friday. They thought they figured out the so-called rules of the game, so we changed the rules… We will call strikes with little or no notice at locations when we need it and where we need it.”

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UAW Wins Just Transition at General Motors

UAWPresident Shawn Fain in latest UAW T Shirt

UAW President Shawn Fain has announced that General Motors will include electric vehicle battery production work in the UAW’s national master agreement with the company. GM’s commitment is a historic step forward, guaranteeing that the transition to electric vehicles at GM will be a just transition that brings good union jobs to communities across America.

Fain made the announcement just after 2 p.m. on Facebook Live. He also announced that UAW negotiators had made major progress in negotiations with all three automakers. As a result, the union will not expand its Stand Up Strike this week against any of the Big Three, though the UAW may call other members to

Stand Up at any time if companies fail to make further progress toward a fair


Here is the full transcript of UAW President Shawn Fain’s Facebook Live:

“Good afternoon UAW family. It’s happened again. Moments before this broadcast, we have had a major breakthrough that has not only dramatically changed negotiations but is going to change the future of our union and the future of our industry.

We were about to shut down GM’s largest money maker, in Arlington Texas. The company knew those members were ready to walk immediately. Just that threat

provided a transformative win. GM has now agreed in writing to place their electric battery manufacturing work under our national master agreement.

We have been told for months this is impossible. We have been told the EV future

must be a race to the bottom. We called their bluff.

What this will mean for our membership cannot be understated. The plan was to

draw down engine and transmission plants, and permanently replace them with

low-wage battery jobs. We had a different plan. And our plan is winning at GM.

And we expect it to win at Ford and Stellantis as well.

So today, we are going to give some updates on the state of bargaining. If it wasn’t clear already, things move fast. It’s hard to give an update that won’t be obsolete by the time the update is done. So here’s a snapshot, and a punchline.

Here’s the snapshot: GM has been falling behind. Today, under threat of a major

financial hit, they leapfrogged the pack in terms of a just transition. And here’s the

punchline: Our strike is working. But we’re not there yet.

Everything we’ve done to this point has been with one goal in mind: to win a record contract that reflects the Big Three’s record profits, and the historic sacrifices our members have made to generate those profits. We have been very

public about our demands, about our expectations, and about our priorities.

Everybody and their brother knows that we have been fighting for economic justice, for a just transition, for COLA, for meaningful wage increases, for retirement security, to end tiers, to win work-life balance, and more. I wish I were here to announce a tentative agreement at one or more of these companies. But I do want to be really clear: we are making significant progress.

In just three weeks, we have moved these companies further than anyone thought possible. Let’s take a look at where things started, and where we are now.


Our first wage proposal from the companies was a 9% raise from Ford. Now, three weeks into the strike, our top offer is 23% from the same company. That’s two and a half times higher than they started. It’s not where we need it to be, but it’s a hell of a lot further along. Both GM and Stellantis are behind Ford, at 20%. We think they can catch up and then some.


We heard for years that COLA was a thing of the past. That we couldn’t go back to the cost-of-living adjustment formula that protected against the worst of inflation. Suddenly, three weeks into our Stand Up Strike, we’ve got two of the Big Three automakers committed to returning to our 2007 COLA formula. Ford andStellantis have agreed to reinstate COLA, GM isn’t far behind. We will get them there.


Let’s talk about temps who have been abused and exploited by the Big Three for

far too long. This part of the workforce used to be a small group, used only to cover for short periods. Now, they’re an entire subsection of our union, who have

few rights, low pay, and an uncertain future. In three weeks, we have won raises for temps to $20 an hour at GM and Stellantis, and $21 an hour at Ford. All three have made commitments around converting temps, but there is still work to be done, both on the wages and conversions. Still, we are making big strides that will end up changing the lives of thousands of our members.


Another area of serious progress is the progression. Going into these negotiations, it took 8 years for workers to make it up to top rate. Taking almost a decade to get to the top wage is unacceptable. And since the Great Recession, the length of the progression has reduced the quality of life for tens-of-thousands of UAW members. We have cut that timeline down to three years at Ford, while GM and Stellantis are still behind, at four-year progressions.

We need to keep pushing, but it means that all those temps we convert will go from second-class citizen to top rate well within the life of this contract. That’s a big deal.


All three companies wanted concessions on profit-sharing. We said HELL

NO. Not only did we beat back Ford’s concessionary profit sharing formula, but we made enhancements. We have also successfully beat back the concessionary demands being made by GM and Stellantis.


Two weeks ago, we let Ford off the hook in our strike expansion because they agreed to some core job security proposals, like the right to strike over plant

closures, which our union has never had. Last week, at the last minute, Stellantis agreed to the right to honor picket lines, and made other important moves on job

security. And now today, because of our power, GM has agreed to lay the

foundation for a just transition.


On Skilled Trades, all of the Big Three wanted to give little or nothing. We are

fighting for a $2 an hour tool allowance. Now, thanks to our Stand Up Strike strategy, Ford has given up a $1.50 tool allowance. Stellantis has given up a $1 an hour. But GM is still refusing to budge.


Finally, we are still fighting hard to win retirement security, for both our pre-2007

and post-2007 hires. For those members who still have a pension, we know you’ve gone far too long without an increase, and we are pushing hard to change it. For those members who never got a pension or post-retirement healthcare, we are fighting like hell for real retirement security. But the companies are fighting like hell to keep our retirement uncertain and insecure.

As people who give their lives to these companies, we never should have lost

those rights. This strike is about righting the wrongs of the past, and winning justice for all of our members.


I also want to lift up one major change from the past in this round of negotiations. For the first time, we are on track to get all of our subcommittee’s issues addressed. Subcommittees cover everything from work rules to discipline to scheduling. They include the demands and proposals our members submit in advance of bargaining, the demands we debate over at our special bargaining convention.

In the past, they’ve simply been shut down when it’s time to settle the contract, and many issues ignored. This time around, ALL of our subcommittees are being seriously addressed, and we’ve made a ton of progress in these areas. We’re doing things differently and we’re getting results.

So that’s where we are on some of our core bargaining priorities. Here’s the bottom line: we are winning. We are making progress. We are headed in the right direction.

What has moved the needle is our willingness to take action, to be flexible, to be aggressive when we have to, and to be strategic. Throughout this strike, I have

been heartened to see our members talking about and debating our strategy. We are thinking together about the core question of the labor movement: how do working class people build the power we need to win what we deserve?

So let’s talk strategy. I want to be clear on one thing: Our goal throughout this process has always been to win a record contract. Our mission as your elected leadership is to fight like hell for the best deal possible. We don’t strike for the hell of it. We know what it’s like to hold a picket sign at 3am. We know what it’s like to be unsure when you’ll get a

real paycheck.

The CEOs are trying to trivialise our strike. They are saying It’s just theatrics. And yes, we are loud and proud about our fight. We want the public to understand our fight, and to side with us, as poll after poll shows they do.

But it’s not about theatrics. It’s about power. The power we have as working-class people. We have shown the Big Three that we are NOT afraid to use it. And we have shown the Big Three that we are ready for a record contract when they are. Theatrics don’t cause companies to agree to double digit pay increases.

Theatrics don’t result in the right to strike over plant closures.

Theatrics don’t win COLA. Theatrics don’t result in GM battery cell manufacturing to be under our national agreement.

Strikes – and the threat of strikes by a unified membership – are what delivers. Our goal here is not just to pound the table and show management how angry we are. We are angry. And our members are angry. And they should be. We have made that crystal clear to these companies at the bargaining table.

And that anger has moved these companies, to a point. But our goal is not just to get mad and shut it all down. Our goal is to outsmart and out-organize corporate

America. I’m reminded of the words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., reflecting on the UAW of a former generation. Dr. King said: “Power is the ability to achieve purpose, power is the ability to affect change, and we need power.”

What is power? Walter Reuther said once that “power is the ability of a labor union like UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world—General Motors—say yes when it wants to say no.”

That’s power. I’ll tell it to you straight: The billionaires and company executives think us autoworkers are dumb. They think we don’t get it. They think we only understand the power of a supervisor yelling at us, or an assembly line coming at us.

They look at me and see some redneck from Indiana. They look at you and see somebody they would never have over for dinner, let ride on their yacht, or fly on their private jet.

They think they know us. But us autoworkers know better. We may be foul-mouthed, but we’re strategic.

We may get fired up, but we’re disciplined.

We may be rowdy, but we’re organised.

Not everything is about pulling out the bazooka. We’ve been very careful about

how we escalate this strike. We have designed this strategy to increase pressure

on the companies – not to hurt them for its own sake, but to MOVE them. To get

them to say YES when they want to say NO.

Today is a perfect example of that. We know their pain points. We know their money makers. We know the plants they really don’t want to see struck. And they

know we’ve got more cards left to play. We won’t let one company fall behind and

wait for movement at another table.

We won’t let them sit back and lowball us while the others make progress. We expect results at EVERY company. We have been crystal clear about how you

catch a strike and how you avoid one.

Two weeks ago, Ford agreed to some core job security proposals, showing us

they were ready to bargain. Last week, Stellantis did the same. This week, GM did something that was unthinkable until just today: they agreed to put the future of this industry under our national agreement. This victory is the direct result of the power of our membership.

It is your willingness to Stand Up when called. It is your commitment to winning

what you are owed. The companies see it. The world sees it. Today, I was ready to call on one of GM’s biggest and most important plants to Stand Up. It was that threat that brought GM to the table.

The Big Three know we are not messing around. They know, if they want to avoid

further strikes, Then they will have to pony up. I have heard members who want to bring down the hammer. Strike all the truck plants. Hit the Big Three where it hurts. There is a time and place for that. And believe me: if the Big Three don’t continue to make progress, then that time will be coming soon.

We are not going to wait around forever. We’re not here to start a fight, we’re here

to finish one.

To our counterparts at the Big Three, we’ll see you at the bargaining table. Tomorrow, we’ll join our striking union family in Chicago for a Stand Up Rally.

Today we made GM say YES when they’d rather say NO. Next up is Ford,

Stellantis, and three record contracts.

Thank you.

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Jose Netto – A pioneer for workers’ rights and trade unionism in Gibraltar

Unite, the union for workers in Gibraltar, has reacted with sadness at news of Jose Netto’s passing on September 25th aged 92.

Jose was a  pioneer for workers’ rights and trade unionism in Gibraltar. He worked as an apprentice mechanical fitter with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, joining the Gibraltar Confederation of Labour he became the youngest GCL shop steward and a member of the GCL executive.

He left the GCL in 1957 after he took a stance against conscription. He worked in London before returning to Gibraltar, working at the Royal Naval dockyard. He became one of the founding fathers of the Gibraltar Free Workers Union, in the early 1960s which merged with the Gibraltar Labour Trade Union who in turn merged with the
with the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU).

In 1972 he was elected a District Officer of the TGWU and organised the first general strike in Gibraltar’s history, which lasted five days in August 1972.

He stood up for the Moroccan and Indian communities in Gibraltar when they were suffering institutional discrimination. He also fostered good relations with Spanish trade unions.

Unite Gibralter in a statement said: “Jose  was a proud socialist and trade unionist and was one of the driving forces behind the growth and success of the TGWU and its predecessors. Jose’s achievements are many, but the General Strike which marked its 50th anniversary last year was chief amongst these. He was also a key campaigner for the rights of Moroccan workers in Gibraltar. Many of the campaigns that Jose led adorn the walls of Transport House today and are a reminder of the struggles which under his leadership and tenacity ended in victories for working people. Jose was and remains an inspiration for union activists and members in relation to the working class struggle, socialism, solidarity and trade unionism in Gibraltar.

“We have lost one of the union’s shining lights, it is a sad day for the union and for Gibraltar, we must take this opportunity to thank Jose for his incredible contribution to trade unionism in Gibraltar and he will be forever remembered by the union. Our sincerest condolences go out to Jose’s family and friends, a true working class hero has been lost to us.”

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