Nonunion OEMs Raise Wages Amid UAW Gains With Detroit 3

Hourly U.S. workers at Toyota, Honda and Hyundai will receive raises as UAW contracts with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis appear headed for approval.

Joseph Szczesny

November 14, 2023

4 Min Read
Honda engine assembly screenshot
UAW eyes Honda workers in Ohio as potential new union members.

The UAW is pushing ahead with efforts to recruit new members as tentative agreements with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis reached after a 44-day “Stand-Up Strike” appear headed for ratification.

The union’s pages on Facebook; on X, the site formerly known as Twitter; and on its own website now include an open invitation to non-union autoworkers to learn more about UAW membership and a promise to keep all inquiries strictly confidential.

“In the past 90 days, thousands of non-union autoworkers have reached out to join our union. They see what workers won at GM, Ford, and Stellantis when they chose to Stand Up and fight for themselves,” the social media posts note. “Now it’s time for non-union autoworkers to Stand Up and fight for themselves.

“If you work at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, Rivian, or any other automaker: a better life is out there. It’s up to you to take action. Join our movement, and join the UAW,” the union posts say.

At least three automakers whose U.S. workers are not unionized appear to be taking notice of the immediate 11% wage increase negotiated for UAW members – and a 25% raise over the course of the 4 ½-year contract.

Honda is confirming it is offering its employees an 11% raise effective Jan. 8, 2024, and reducing the progression to top-level wages from six years to three years. “Honda has been committed to maintaining an excellent employment experience for our production associates since we began manufacturing in America in 1979, including competitive wage and benefit packages and a work environment,” the company says.

Toyota (Texas assembly line, pictured below) has confirmed it is offering its hourly employees a 9% raise, effective Jan. 1, 2024, and reducing the company’s progression to top wages to four years from the current eight years.

Toyota Texas assembly line.jpg

Toyota Texas assembly line_0

Hyundai also says it will raise the pay of its Alabama workers by 25% over the next four years. Jose Munoz, president and CEO of Hyundai and Genesis North America, says in a statement, “Hyundai continuously strives to maintain competitive wages and benefits commensurate to industry peers.”

While it is too soon to say whether the UAW social media campaign is having any impact, the White House is noticing.

“Union autoworkers own this victory,” President Joe Biden says in a message to the UAW.

“I meant it when I said deals like the UAW’s historic agreement will change the game for every worker in America, and that I want that type of agreement for all autoworkers,” says Biden, who has endorsed the UAW’s efforts to recruit members at non-union plants.

Meanwhile, current UAW members are taking a hard look at the tentative agreements with the Detroit Three automakers that ended a seven-week strike.

With roughly half of all UAW locals across all three automakers reporting vote results Monday afternoon, Ford hourly workers were approving the tentative agreement by a 65%-35% margin; General Motors, 56%-44% in favor, and Stellantis, 82%-18% in favor, Vote Trackers on the union’s website say.

The agreement with Ford appears to be winning the approval of union members at the automaker’s assembly plants in Chicago; Kansas City, Mo; and Flat Rock and Wayne, MI, as well as a large components plant in Sterling Heights, MI. But key locals in Dearborn, MI, and Louisville, KY, are yet to weigh in on the new contract.

At Stellantis, several small locals at parts depots that will be consolidated under the tentative agreement are expected to vote against ratification.

The proposed contract with GM is receiving more no votes than UAW President Shawn Fain and other union leaders expected.

Union members at GM’s big Flint Truck Assembly Plant (pictured, below) voted down the contract by a combined 51.8% margin. GM Stamping in Pontiac, MI, and Marion, IN, as well as the GM Powertrain plant in Romulus, MI, also rejected the contract. However, it was approved by workers at assembly plants in Orion Township, MI, and Detroit. Several large GM locals are to vote on the contract this week.

GM Flint truck plant assembly line.jpg

GM Flint truck plant assembly line_1

The ratification bonus has been cut from $11,000, which was part of the 2019 contract, to $5,000 in the current tentative agreements, spurring complaints that the proposals are not as rich as Fain says. Older “legacy” workers, according to posts across social media, indicate a substantial number of them are questioning whether the proposed agreements restore what the union lost in 2007 and 2009.

Tiered retirement benefits, in which older workers receive defined benefit pensions and union members hired after 2007 are enrolled in 401(k) plans, also remain an issue.

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