After months of negotiations and targeted strikes, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has announced that Chrysler-parent Stellantis intends to invest $18.9 billion in the United States by April 2028. This significant investment includes $1.5 billion for the production of new midsize pickup trucks at an idled factory in Belvidere, Illinois. The ultimate completion of these investments is contingent upon the ratification of the tentative labor agreement by the approximately 43,000 UAW members covered by the proposed contract at Stellantis.
UAW President Shawn Fain described the tentative agreement as the “most lucrative contract our union has won in decades.” This achievement comes after roughly six weeks of targeted strikes by the UAW against Stellantis, General Motors, and Ford Motor. The work stoppages began on September 15, following unsuccessful negotiations covering 146,000 UAW members with the automakers. Fain proudly announced that the Belvidere factory, which had been idled since February 2022, would be reopened without compromising on unfavorable conditions such as terrible working hours, pay cuts, or a race to the bottom. Instead, the UAW achieved this feat by fighting back against the company’s oppressive practices.
Prior to the negotiations, UAW Vice President Rich Boyer emphasized the importance of product commitments and, in particular, the Belvidere plant. The UAW successfully secured $8.1 billion in product commitments from Stellantis during the talks. These commitments involve investments in various locations, including a Dodge-Jeep plant in Detroit, a Jeep complex in Ohio, a Ram plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Stellantis’ Warren Truck plant in suburban Detroit. Furthermore, Stellantis plans to invest $3.2 billion in a new joint-venture battery plant in Belvidere, set to open in 2028. The tentative agreement also includes previously announced battery investments of $6.2 billion for two joint-venture battery facilities in Kokomo, Indiana.
In addition to the significant product commitments, the negotiated agreement offers several benefits to UAW members. The union secured a car-lease program for employees that mirrors the program available to company management. This program provides discounted prices, unlimited miles, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Moreover, the agreement includes substantial pay increases, bonuses, and enhanced benefits for autoworkers. These benefits consist of profit-sharing payments and a $5,000 ratification bonus. The pay increases amount to a 25% raise over the contract term. Upon ratification, workers will receive an 11% increase, followed by a 3% raise for the next three years, and a final 5% increase in September 2027.
UAW members at Ford have already begun voting on their tentative agreement, with 82% of workers at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant expressing support for the pact. Workers at the suburban Detroit plant were among the first to strike alongside other assembly plants at GM and Stellantis. UAW members at Stellantis and GM are expected to vote on the deals within the next couple of weeks. A simple majority is required to ratify the agreements.
The UAW’s tentative agreement with Stellantis represents a significant victory for the union and its members. The $18.9 billion investment plan, including the reopening of the Belvidere factory, demonstrates the UAW’s ability to fight for and secure important product commitments. The agreement’s generous benefits, such as pay raises, bonuses, and a comprehensive car-lease program, further enhance the livelihoods of UAW members. As UAW members prepare to cast their votes on the agreements, the union’s hard-fought achievements serve as a testament to the power of collective bargaining and the prosperity it can bring to workers in the automotive industry.