Update: On Friday evening, President Joe Biden announced he will join striking UAW workers next week on Tuesday on their picket line in Michigan. Biden made the announcement via X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. Biden, from his @POTUS account, said he would “stand in solidarity” with workers “as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.”
“It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs,” he added.
The original story appears below.
United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain announced on Friday an expansion of the current nationwide strike against the “Big Three” automakers, particularly the two companies he said were not negotiating a new four-year contract in good faith with the union.
Fain also sent out an invite to President Joe Biden to join picketers in a sign of support for their cause.
Biden’s itinerary for the remainder of Friday doesn’t include any plans to discuss the strike with representatives from UAW or anyone else. Instead, Biden is set to discuss the issue of gun safety in the Rose Garden of the White House. Biden also met with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy yesterday, to discuss the ongoing conflict between that country and Russia, after which Biden announced that the U.S. would give more weapons to Kyiv.
In a livestream video he broadcast on Friday, Fain explained that the expansion of the autoworkers’ strike would affect 38 facilities across 28 different states run by General Motors and Stellantis, two of the Big Three auto companies.
Fain noted that he and union negotiators were happy with recent progress at the bargaining table with Ford, the third of the Big Three companies. He said the expansion of the strike wouldn’t affect any of that company’s locations, but strikes at select Ford facilities announced last week would continue until worker demands are met,
Workers at the additional General Motors and Stellantis facilities would continue to strike “until those two companies come to their senses and come to the table with a serious offer,” Fain said.
Although encouraged by progress with Ford, Fain also said UAW was “not done” negotiating a new contract with the company.
“We have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is serious about reaching a deal,” Fain added.
Fain’s video message also included a request for supporters of the striking workers — including Biden — to show up in person at the picket line.
“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. We invite you to join us in our fight,” Fain said.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden has not yet responded to Fain’s invitation. Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump (Biden’s likely GOP opponent in the 2024 presidential race) said he plans to give a speech in Detroit next week. Fain has denounced Trump doing so, saying that the UAW is “fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.”
The UAW strike against the Big Three began on September 15 after contract negotiations fell through as current labor contracts expired. UAW is seeking for its workers a 40 percent increase in pay, a 32-hour workweek, a return to a traditional pension plan, the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments and more changes to contracts.The union says the Big Three can afford it after posting record-setting profits in recent years.
Biden has been vocal in his support for workers, though he has also said he wants a fair process to play out between the union and the auto companies.
“Over generations, autoworkers sacrificed so much to keep the industry alive and strong, especially the economic crisis and the pandemic,” Biden said last week at the White House. “Workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create.”
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated Biden’s support for autoworkers, telling reporters that the president had “spoken to all parties in the past couple of weeks.”
“The president is a pro-union president,” Jean-Pierre insisted.
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