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Stellantis, striking US auto union reach tentative deal

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Stellantis and the striking United Auto Workers union have reached a preliminary deal similar to the one struck earlier this week with Ford, the union said Saturday — allowing members to go back to work at grounded factories.

The tentative agreement, reached after 44 days of strike action that simultaneously targeted Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, includes a 25 percent raise in base wages by 2028, the union said in a statement.

Cost of living adjustments will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33 percent, to over $42 an hour.

Like the Ford deal, any preliminary agreement with European auto giant Stellantis would need to be ratified via a vote from UAW members.

But in the meantime, striking Stellantis workers, like those at Ford, “will return to work while the agreement goes through the ratification process,” the UAW said.

The wage increase in the tentative agreement is lower than the 40 percent sought by UAW President Shawn Fain when the union launched the strike on September 15, in the first ever simultaneous stoppage at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

However, it is far above the nine percent increase that Ford, for example, initially proposed in August.

President Joe Biden hailed the agreement.

“I applaud the UAW and Stellantis for coming together after hard fought, good faith negotiations to reach a historic agreement that will guarantee workers the pay, benefits, dignity and respect they deserve,” he said in a statement.

“Once again, we have achieved what just weeks ago we were told was impossible,” Fain said, adding that “we have begun to turn the tide in the war on the American working class.”

Some 5,000 jobs will be added by Stellantis over the course of the contract, Fain said, a turnaround from job cuts the automaker was pursuing before the negotiations.

After reaching the tentative agreement with Ford on Wednesday, the UAW had said it would encourage employees to return to their jobs at the plants it targeted with its strike, in order to put pressure on General Motors and Stellantis.

More than 45,000 workers were on strike prior to the Ford deal, as part of a strategy where the UAW has gradually ratcheted up the number of factories targeted by stoppages as it sought better terms.

GM now remains the only automaker without a tentative deal.

A strike was called at its factory in Arlington, Texas, earlier this week.

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