President Biden recently issued a statement addressing the current contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union and the Big Three Detroit automakers, voicing support for union members now engaged in targeted strikes at GM, Ford, and Stellantis. President Biden echoed statements made by UAW President Shawn Fain in stating that record profits generated by the Big Three automakers should result in record contracts for union members. Although this is not the first time President Biden has weighed in on the UAW negotiations, it is the first time he has openly supported the union striking.
“Over the past decade, auto companies have seen record profits, including the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of the UAW workers. But those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers,” President Biden said Friday afternoon.
“No one wants a strike. But I respect workers’ right to use their options under the collective bargaining system,” he added.
President Biden said that he was dispatching Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling to Detroit in order help the UAW and Big Three automakers reach an equitable deal.
The UAW began targeted strikes at specific production facilities following the expiration of the previous labor contracts Thursday night. So far, UAW members have staged walkouts at the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri, Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant in Michigan, and the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio.
“From job security to ending tiers, from cost-of-living allowance to wage increases, we do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifice and contributions our members have made to these companies,” said UAW President Fain on Thursday. “To win, we’re likely going to have to take action.”
The UAW has yet to endorse Biden for re-election, arguing that the Inflation Reduction Act does not provide adequate protection for unions in the industry-wide transition to all-electric vehicles. Biden faced criticism from union leaders late last year after signing a bill that blocked a strike by U.S. rail workers.