The United Auto Workers announced Wednesday a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Company on a new contract that could bring an end to the nearly 6-week-old strike.
The deal includes a 25% wage increase over the course of the contract, union officials said in a video announcement.
UAW president Shawn Fain called the agreement a "major victory."
"Between wage increases, [cost of living adjustments], annual bonuses to retirees and other economic gains, there is more value for our members in each individual year of this agreement than the entirety of the 2009 agreement," UAW vice president Chuck Browning said in the video, adding: "When we say historic, we mean it."
The four-year deal still has to be ratified by the union's members. The Ford agreement could set the pattern for agreements with the other two automakers.
"I want to congratulate the @UAW for their historic tentative agreement with @Ford," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "When workers fight back against corporate greed, they win. It’s time for @Stellantis and @GM to get serious and negotiate a fair contract for their workers. The American people are watching."
A Ford deal would include cost-of-living pay increases that could lift the total pay raises above 30%, said the people. In addition, workers would still receive annual profit-sharing checks.
The news comes after the UAW expanded its strike Monday at a Stellantis factory that makes its bestselling Ram pickup trucks and again Tuesday at a General Motors factory that makes popular SUVs including the GMC Yukon. Earlier this month, the UAW added 8,700 workers to the picket lines at a Ford factory in Kentucky that makes some of the company’s most profitable trucks and SUVs, including its Super Duty pickups, Expedition SUV and Lincoln Navigator.
Ford executives responded to the Kentucky factory strike by saying the company had reached its financial limit in contract negotiations with the union but returned to the bargaining table this week.
About 45,000 of the UAW’s 150,000 members have been striking various Ford, General Motors and Stellantis facilities at factories and parts distribution centers since the union’s contract expired in mid-September.
In July, Fain began meeting with the automakers separately, presenting each of them with a list of 10 demands, including a 40% wage increase, cost-of-living adjustments, defined pension benefits for all workers, the right to strike over plant closures and more paid time off to be with families. While the UAW has made progress with all three companies, Fain said earlier this month he was tired of automakers gaming the union’s system of announcing strike expansions on Friday and engaging in 11th hour negotiations and would strike plants without notice.
As of last Friday, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis had all offered the UAW a 23% wage increase. Ford was the first to up the increase to 25% over four years. The company will also include cost-of-living pay increases that can lift total pay rises to more than 30%, as well as annual profit-sharing checks.
Ford will also grant union members the right to strike over plant closures and additional job security in the event of layoffs, with both full-time and temporary workers receiving income security for up to two years including healthcare.
President Joe Biden congratulated the auto workers and Ford both on the tentative deal "after a hard fought, good faith negotiation."
"This tentative agreement is a testament to the power of employers and employees coming together to work out their differences at the bargaining table in a manner that helps businesses succeed while helping workers secure pay and benefits they can raise a family on and retire with dignity and respect," Biden said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.