The UAW has invited President Biden to join the picket lines in the labor union’s ongoing strike against the Big Three Detroit automakers. The UAW recently expanded its strike against GM and Stellantis in a strategy intended to give UAW negotiators greater flexibility in contract talks. Biden voiced support for the UAW immediately following the announcement of the strike.
Per a report from The Hill, UAW President Fain announced that the UAW would expand its strike against GM and Stellantis in a livestream address. During the announcement, Fain asked supporters to joint striking UAW members on the picket line, including President Biden.
“We invite and encourage everyone who supports our case to join us on the picket line, from our friends and families all the way up to the president of the United States,” Fain said. “We invite you to join us in our fight.”
President Biden voiced support for the UAW immediately following the announcement of the initial walkouts, stating that while “no one wants a strike,” he “[respects] workers’ right to use their options under the collective bargaining system. Biden also echoed the union’s call for record contracts on the back of automakers’ record profits.
“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,” Biden said.
Labor leaders criticized Biden last year for signing a bill that blocked U.S. rail workers from striking. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act has been criticized for not providing adequate protection for autoworkers in the industry-wide shift to EVs.
Biden initially announced that he would send Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House Senior Adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit in order to assist in negotiations between the UAW and automakers. However, officials later stated that Su and Sperling would sit in on negotiations virtually, instead.
The UAW announced initial walkouts at three facilities following the expiration of the previous contract on Thursday, September 14th, including the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri. The union later expanded the strike to include additional facilities at GM and Stellantis, including nearly 20 GM parts distribution centers. GM has also idled production at its Fairfax assembly plant as a result of the strike. The UAW opted not to expand its strike against Ford, citing significant progress towards a new contract.
The UAW represents 146,000 autoworkers across all three of the Big Detroit automakers.