UAW close to approving deals with Stellantis, Ford

File - Dan Back, a United Auto Workers Local 12 member, pickets during the ongoing UAW strike at the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Toledo, Ohio. Members of the United Auto Workers union moved closer to approving a contract agreement with Stellantis on Friday, Nov. 17, as two large factories in Detroit voted overwhelmingly for the deal. (Kurt Steiss/The Blade via AP, File)

DETROIT (AP) -- Members of the United Auto Workers union were close to approving contract agreements with Stellantis and Ford on Friday, with voting at both companies overwhelmingly in favor and only a few factories yet to cast ballots.

On Friday, workers at Ford had voted 68.2 percent in favor of the deal with only seven smaller facilities yet to be counted by early Saturday. At the company's huge pickup truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, the vote was 78.7 percent in favor of the pact, giving it an insurmountable lead of more than 12,600 votes.

At Stellantis, the deal was approved Friday by large margins at two big Detroit plants. Overall, 68.4 percent of Stellantis workers who cast ballots were in favor of ratification, and the contract was leading by more than 9,600 votes.

Voting at Jeep and Ram vehicle maker Stellantis is scheduled to officially end tonight.

With the deals likely to be approved, workers at Ford and Stellatis would join counterparts at General Motors in ratifying the record contracts, ending a contentious labor dispute that brought a punishing series of strikes over six weeks. GM workers narrowly approved their four year and eight month contract on Thursday.

At Stellantis, workers at the large Jefferson North factory that makes Jeep Grand Cherokees voted 70.7 percent in favor of the agreement. Nearby, workers at the Detroit Mack Assembly Complex who make the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs voted 78.3 percent in favor.

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, said he expects the contracts to be ratified at Ford and Stellantis. "It certainly seems that they're on track to pass," he said.

The three contracts, if approved by 146,000 union members, would dramatically raise pay for top-scale assembly plant autoworkers, with increases and cost-of-living adjustments that would translate into a 33 percent wage gain. Top assembly plant workers would get immediate 11 percent raises and earn roughly $42 per hour when the contracts expire in April of 2028.

The contract at GM was approved by a much narrower margin than voting at Ford and Stellantis. The deal passed by only 3,400 votes, or 54.7 percent in favor.