UAW leader says strike would send message to Biden

UAW President:'Wages are not the problem, our conditions are not the problem, it is corporate greed'

A United Auto Workers strike against Detroit automakers would help President Joe Biden and other politicians choose sides when it comes to organized labor, UAW President Shawn Fain said Wednesday night.

“I think our strike can reinforce that [Biden] where the working class stands in this country and, you know, it’s time for the politicians in this country to choose a side,” he said during CNBC’s “Last Call” with Brian Sullivan. “Either you stand for a billionaire class, where everyone else stays behind, or you stand for the working class, the working class votes.”

The outspoken union leader reiterated this strike General Motors, Ford engine and or Stellantis If the contracts of around 150,000 auto workers expire after 11:59 p.m., September 14th is not the target, but the sides are far apart when it comes to key demands.

UAW President Shawn Fain addresses union members during a solidarity rally on Sunday in Warren, Michigan, on August 20, 2023

Michael Wayland/CNBC

“We are at the end. We still have eight days left,” said Fain. “We are putting pressure on you. We are available around the clock, as we have been for the last seven weeks. So it’s up to the companies where we end up and whether or not we need to take action on the 14th.”

Fain said the union will meet with GM on Thursday morning after a meeting with Ford on Wednesday afternoon. Stellantis said Wednesday that it “intends to make a counteroffer to members’ economic demands to the UAW by the end of the week.”

Fain’s comments about Biden heighten the unusual tension between the historically Democratic union leader and the commander in chief who has described himself as “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.”

Earlier this week, Fain said he was “shocked” when Biden said he was “not worried about a strike until it happens” and that he doesn’t “think it will happen.”

“He must know something we don’t know. Maybe the companies plan to come in and tell us our demands the night before. I don’t know, but he’s privy to something I don’t know about,” Fain told reporters during a Labor Day event in Detroit.

The UAW has supported Democrats in the past. However, former President Donald Trump won notable support from auto industry workers during his presidential campaign. Fain said he believes another Trump presidency would be “a disaster,” citing the need for the union to “organize our members behind a pro-worker, pro-climate and pro-democracy political program that can deliver for the working class.” . .”

The UAW is refusing to seek re-election for Biden until concerns about the auto industry’s transition to all-electric vehicles, such as job security, pay and organizing, are addressed, Fain previously said.

“Our support is earned, not freely given, and actions will determine who we support,” Fain reiterated Wednesday.

Simultaneous strikes against GM, Ford and Stellantis would be unprecedented. It would also be one of the largest UAW strikes in recent history and could quickly impact the automotive supply chain, the U.S. economy and domestic manufacturing.

Against a backdrop of U.S.-made vehicles and a UAW sign, President Joe Biden, then-presidential candidate, speaks about new proposals to protect U.S. jobs during a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan, Sept. 9, 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

A strike against GM in 2019 during the last round of contract negotiations lasted 40 days and cost the automaker $3.6 billion in profits that year, GM reported at the time.

The union’s current demands could also be costly if tentative agreements are reached. Key demands include a 40% increase in hourly wages, a shortened 32-hour week, a return to traditional pensions, the elimination of pay tiers and the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments, among others. UAW leader says strike would send message to Biden

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