President Biden is sending a team from the White House in a bid to help resolve the strike by the nation’s largest auto workers union, with the Big Three automakers planning to be in Detroit to support negotiations “in beginning of the week “.
White House Advisor Gene Sperling and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su traveled to Detroit in an effort to reach an agreement to end the strike initiated by the United Auto Workers union, which started Friday.
Sperling, who has been actively involved in key issues related to the union and automakers, coordinated his efforts with Su.
An administration official said, “Sperling and Acting Secretary Su are communicating by telephone with the parties, as they have for weeks, with the intention of being there early this week. The Administration is pleased that the parties continue to meet as they did before the contract expired.
President Biden sent a White House team to Detroit to help resolve the strike involving the United Auto Workers union and the Big Three automakers.
United Auto Workers member Brian Rooster Heppner raises his fist as he applauds at a rally in Detroit on Friday.
Members of the United Auto Workers march through downtown Detroit on Friday. UAW leads strike against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors
Su and Sperling’s goal is not to act as mediators or intervene directly, but rather to offer support in a way that the negotiating parties find constructive, according to the official.
The union representing workers at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis is demanding a 40 percent raise for its workers. The walkout is limited so far to three assembly plants: a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford plant near Detroit and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio.
The head of the United Auto Workers warned Sunday that a historic strike by the three largest automakers will expand if the companies do not increase their wage offers in ongoing negotiations.
Stellantis, one of the three, had offered its workers what it called a “highly competitive” 21 percent wage increase over four years, but UAW President Shawn Fain called the proposal ” definitively prohibited.
Labor Secretary Julie Su is part of a White House delegation sent to Detroit to try to resolve the strikes
UAW Local 685 President Garry Quirk said Biden didn’t do enough to prevent a strike, saying, ‘I don’t know what he did’
As part of its demands, the UAW wants to represent battery factory workers, which would impact an industry that has seen its supply chains upended by technological change.
“If we don’t get better deals and … meet the needs of the members, we’re going to amplify the situation even more,” Fain told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” talk show, saying that General Motors, Ford and Stellantis have “no excuse” for not resolving wage disputes given the massive profits they have made in recent years.
“We are ready to do whatever we have to do. The members are ready, they have had enough.
The UAW is demanding better conditions for its workers, including a 40 percent pay increase over the next four-year contract. All three companies are proposing increases of around 20 percent.
A UAW source confirmed that the union held talks with General Motors on Sunday, the third day of the strike, but provided no further details.
The impasse has fueled an already acrimonious debate in Washington over President Joe Biden’s economic policies ahead of the 2024 election — and whether he has done enough to avoid or resolve the auto dispute.
Biden, who describes himself as “the most pro-union president in American history,” spoke with UAW boss Shawn Fain and three automaker CEOs in a last-ditch effort vain to avoid a strike.
Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, speaks to reporters about UAW contract negotiations at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week.
Only 12,700 of the union’s 150,000 workers are currently on strike, but Fain’s comments highlight the possibility of much broader action, with echoes throughout the economy.
On Friday, President Biden expressed hope that the UAW and the Big Three automakers would return to the negotiating table.
He acknowledged workers’ frustration, pointing out that even though automakers reported “record profits,” the gains were not passed on to the workforce.
Biden said the profits had not “been shared fairly, in my opinion, with these workers.”
“Let’s be clear: no one wants a strike. But I respect the right of workers to use their options within the collective bargaining system,” he said at the White House.
The strike presents a unique challenge for the president who has previously identified himself as “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Fain (left) speak at a rally in support of members of the United Auto Workers as they strike against the Big Three automakers Friday in Detroit.
UAW union members march through the streets of downtown Detroit following a rally on the first day of the UAW strike in Detroit
Democrats have lined up solidly behind autoworkers.
“The president has made it clear which side he is on in this fight,” liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders said on CNN, adding that Biden has repeatedly said “a strong labor movement benefits all of us.”
On social media, Vice President Kamala Harris said she agreed that “a new deal should promote good, middle-class jobs – and ensure the UAW remains at the heart of our automobile economy.
Historically, the UAW has supported Democratic candidates like Biden, but former President Donald Trump gained significant support from blue-collar auto workers.
Trump, who holds a resounding lead in polls over other Republican presidential candidates, has criticized the union’s leadership and Biden’s focus on promoting electric vehicle manufacturing.
“Auto workers won’t have jobs … because all these cars will be made in China – the electric cars, automatically, will be made in China,” Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday on the NBC channel. ‘Meet the press.
Before the strike was officially declared, UAW President Shawn Fain stressed that a walkout would force Biden and other politicians to take sides in the organized labor dispute.
At midnight Friday, about 13,000 UAW members launched strikes in various locations, including a General Motors plant in Missouri, a Stellantis facility in Ohio and a Ford assembly plant in Michigan .
On Friday, Ford announced it was indefinitely laying off 600 workers at a Michigan plant due to the impact of the strike at the plant that makes the Bronco, and GM told some 2,000 workers a Kansas auto plant that their plant would likely be closed. down Monday or Tuesday due to a parts shortage resulting from the strike at a GM Missouri plant.
If all UAW members went on strike, the union’s strike fund would be enough to provide about 11 weeks of strike pay.