Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers, and UAW Vice President Rich Boyer addressed Stellantis employees Thursday night after the union and the automaker reached a tentative agreement that includes historic wage increases.
But now that the union has reached a deal with Stellantis and the rest of the Big Three, it’s touting its collective bargaining wins to encourage non-union autoworkers to join the UAW.
In a video message to Stellantis employees, Fain cited the agreements with the Big Three as the reason for Toyota’s decision this week to raise wages for its U.S. hourly workers by 9%.
“These contracts are so good, even non-union auto workers are getting a raise,” Fain said. “They could have just as easily raised wages a month ago or a year ago. They did it now because the company knows we're coming for ‘em.”
The union aims to eventually add non-union autoworkers at Toyota to its ranks. In his message to union members at Stellantis, Fain also indirectly addressed Toyota employees.
“Even though you're not yet members of our union, that pay raise Toyota is giving you is the UAW bump. UAW — that stands for ‘you are welcome.’” Fain said. “You are welcome to join our stand up movement.”
The UAW has lost members over the years but organizing workers at Toyota could significantly grow its membership. According to NPR, the UAW once included around 1.5 million members but is currently down to roughly 380,000. Toyota employs 354,317 people in the U.S.
“Toyota's future won't be determined in the boardrooms. It'll be determined on the plant floor,” Fain said. “It will be determined by working-class families sitting around the kitchen table.”
In addition, Toyota operates 10 plants in the U.S. and has manufactured vehicles in the U.S. since 1986, starting with the Corolla under its joint venture with General Motors, New United Motor Manufacturing. The plant in Fremont, California, is now owned by Tesla.
Under the tentative agreement with Stellantis, UAW-represented autoworkers at the top of the pay scale would earn more than $40 per hour by the end of the contract, a total pay increase of over 30%. Similarly, entry-level autoworkers would get a 67% increase over the previous collective bargaining agreement. Some current Stellantis temps will also get raises up to 168%.
The UAW, emboldened by winning major concessions from the Big Three, plans to ramp up the labor movement in the U.S. auto industry in the coming years.
“Now we're going to organize like we've never organized before. So we can raise the standard everywhere,” Fain said.