Stellantis nears UAW deal after intensive talks

By David Shepardson and Joseph White

(Reuters) -Chrysler parent Stellantis and the United Auto Workers were nearing a deal that could be finalized as soon a Saturday to end a six-week-old strike, sources told Reuters.

On Wednesday, Ford Motor was the first of Detroit’s Big Three car manufacturers to negotiate an agreement to settle strikes joined by 45,000 Detroit Three auto workers since mid-September. The deal will likely set a pattern for new UAW contracts with GM and Stellantis.

Talks between Stellantis and the UAW were set to reconvene at 10 a.m. Detroit after lengthy talks on Friday. The meeting Saturday could finalize a tentative agreement, the sources said. Talks between the UAW and General Motors were continuing past 9 p.m. Friday.

Both GM and Stellantis have agreed to match Ford on key economic terms including the 25% wage hike, but some final crucial issues including the use of temporary workers has been one of the final issues of discussion, the sources said.

Stellantis has offered to build a new vehicle at a shuttered Belivdere, Ilinois factory as well as a new battery plant, a person briefed on the matter said, confirming a Bloomberg News report.

GM shares closed down 4.6% at $27.22. Stellantis shares closed down 2.4% at $18.04 in New York.

The Ford agreement, which still must be ratified by union members, includes a 25% wage hike over the life of the 4-1/2-year contract, a boost in retirement contributions, and the elimination of lower-pay tiers for workers in certain parts operations at Ford.

It also reduces the time to get to top pay to three years from eight, and the UAW won the right to strike over plant closures.

The deal amounts to total pay hikes of more than 33% when compounding and cost-of-living mechanisms are factored in, the UAW said.

Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said on Thursday that the strike had cost the automaker $1.3 billion in earnings and 80,000 vehicles.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Joseph White in DetroitEditing by Chizu Nomiyama, Peter Henderson, Matthew Lewis and Raju Gopalakrishnan)