An unprecedented six-week strike in the "big three" American car manufacturers comes to an end thanks to the preliminary agreement reached by General Motors and the UAW union, after understandings at Ford and Stellantis.
According to a statement from the union, GM accepted, like its rivals, a 25% increase in the basic salary over the four years of the collective agreement.
President Joe Biden, who, while campaigning for his re-election, attended one of the protests organized by workers demanding better wages, welcomed the "historic" agreements.
"These record agreements reward automotive industry workers who made many sacrifices to keep the sector functioning" during the 2009 crisis, the president considered.
More than 45,000 workers went on strike, as part of a strategy in which the UAW gradually increased the number of factories subject to strikes in search of better wage conditions since September 15.
It was the first time since the union's creation in 1935 that Detroit's "big three" were targeted by a simultaneous strike.
These agreements must be ratified by a vote of the members of the UAW (United Auto Workers).
– Strategy -After starting with smaller plants and auto parts distribution centers, the UAW extended the movement to the most important and “lucrative” factories of each group in Michigan, the birthplace of the automobile in the United States.
Ford reached a preliminary agreement on Wednesday after 41 days of strike and Stellantis three days later, on Saturday.
The known figures are less than the 40% that UAW President Shawn Fain intended when the union began the strike.
The agreements also provide for salary increases during the four years of the collective agreement, measures to adjust the cost of living, social benefits and improvements for retirees, among others.
"The three agreements are a record and unify our union," the UAW said in a statement.
According to each firm, the understanding has specificities, such as increasing the number of jobs in the case of Stellantis.
– Plant “saved” -Stellantis committed to creating 5,000 jobs when he had planned layoffs within the framework of the closure of a plant in Belvidere (Illinois) that has now been “saved,” according to Rich Boyer, vice president of the UAW.
GM was very pleased to reach a preliminary agreement with the UAW "that illustrates the contribution of the teams" and allows "to continue investing" in the future, with "good jobs" in the United States, said Mary Barra, the president of the automotive giant. in a brief statement.
"Workers haven't had this much strength in decades, and they certainly haven't had it since the 2008-2009 recession," Susan Schurman, a professor of labor relations at Rutgers University, said in an interview with AFP.
In this sector, employees made "enormous sacrifices" during the rescue of the industry after the 2008 crisis and now with the reactivation, "the leaders receive a lot of money and the workers want their share," he added.
«Another record quarter, another record year. As we've been saying for months: record profits mean record contracts," Fain said after GM's quarterly results were released on October 24.
The union announced that Ford and Stellantis employees would return to work without waiting for validation by vote within the union.
At the close of Wall Street, GM gained 0.51% after the agreement with the UAW union to end the strike; Ford (-1.96%) and Stellantis (-0.28%) meanwhile, fell.