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HomeEntrepreneursFord, UAW labor talks intensify, inch closer to a deal

Ford, UAW labor talks intensify, inch closer to a deal

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain (right) and UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock (left) lead a march outside Stellantis’ Ram 1500 plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan after the union called a strike at the plant on Oct. 23, 2023.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

DETROIT – The United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor could be closing in on a tentative agreement that would end a nearly six-week strike at the automaker, sources with knowledge of the discussions confirmed Wednesday to CNBC.

The sides participated in intense bargaining Tuesday and Wednesday in an attempt to finalize a record deal for 57,000 union-represented workers at Ford, according to the sources, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because the sensitive nature of the private talks.

The situation remains fluid and it’s possible the recent progress in negotiations won’t result in a tentative agreement, but the sides are closer than they’ve ever been before, according to one source. The union also could walk away from the table with a better offer to then get GM and Stellantis to match it before agreeing to a tentative agreement.

Ford’s UAW members would have to ratify any tentative agreement by a simple majority.

Spokespeople with Ford, which has offered the best proposals of any of the three Detroit automakers for weeks, declined to comment on the negotiations other than to say talks are ongoing. A UAW spokesman did not respond for comment.

As first reported Wednesday by the Associated Press, the sides appear “to be edging closer to a tentative contract agreement.”

The recent talks have involved a proposal for wage increases of at least 25% over the term of the deal as well as other improved benefits previously outlined by the union and company, two sources confirmed to CNBC.

The UAW and Ford as well as its crosstown rivals General Motors and Stellantis have been locked in negotiations largely around the economics of the deals since the sides failed to reach new contracts covering 146,000 autoworkers by a Sept 14 deadline.

The union initiated negotiations with all three automakers at once, breaking from recent history when UAW leaders would bargain with each automaker individually, select a lead company to focus efforts on and then pattern the remaining deals off a leading tentative agreement.

However, a potential tentative agreement with Ford would likely be used as a template to negotiate with Stellantis and GM. The union expanded strikes against both of those automakers at major plants this week.

Ford reports its third-quarter results after the markets close Thursday.

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