How the UAW-Ford contract ratification process could play out

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 11:13:10-04

CENTER LINE, Mich. (WXYZ) — With a tentative deal on the table between Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers, the ratification process is next.

John Jake Kincaid has worked for MOPAR, a Stellantis parts distributor, for 28 years.

He said he was pleased to hear of a tentative deal between Ford and the UAW, and he’s satisfied with the offer on the surface.

When asked if he thinks that tentative deal will be ratified, Kincaid replied, "I’m not sure because I don’t know what’s in it. It always sounds good at the beginning but you know, a lot of times, it’s stuff in there that we may not like.”

While he said he's happy overall, some others on the picket line feel differently. Other workers, who didn't want to be interviewed, said they hope the UAW doesn’t agree to such an offer on Stellantis’ behalf and that the Ford contract heads back to the bargaining table.

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University said, “The devil is in the detail, and the members are going to comb through it with very much detail.”

He said the ratification process basically has three phases. First, a meeting of local union leaders to review the details of the contract will take place.

They have to approve it before it can go to rank-and-file members for further deliberation.

During the second phase, rank-and-file members are informed of the details. Lastly, members then vote by paper ballot. Those votes are counted to ratify or deny the contract.

“I would say based upon what we know now, it is a record contract, and it should be well-received by most of the membership. That doesn’t mean it’ll pass overwhelmingly. There are always going to be people who feel that it is short in certain respects,” Masters said.

He said the process took about nine days in 2019 and that it could play out within a similar time frame this time. That's if there are no glitches.

In the meantime, Masters said the UAW could reach similar tentative deals with General Motors and Stellantis with a few variations. Friday evening, 7 Action News learned that both Stellantis and GM matched the 25% wage increase offer that Ford presented earlier this week.

Kincaid said he expects to have a better pulse on the Ford contract this weekend.

“We get a good wind after they come out the meeting Sunday. So... it’ll all start what we call 'leaking out'. Yes, and we’ll know what’s going on,” he said.