President Joe Biden said Friday that he hopes the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the three big auto industry companies affected by the strike will return to the negotiating table to forge “a win-win deal.”
“Let’s be clear, no one wants a strike,” Biden said in remarks from the White House after bipartisan talks collapsed and union workers went on strike against automakers at midnight.
“But I respect the right of workers to use their options under the collective bargaining system,” the president said.
Biden said he understands workers’ frustration and emphasized that while auto companies have made “record profits,” those profits “have not been shared fairly, in my opinion, with those workers.”
Biden also said that will send White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit “to offer its full support to the parties” to reach a contract.” Sperling, who has been serving as a point person on key issues related to the union and the auto companies, has been coordinating with his.
Biden made his official statement on the issue from the White House, a few hours after UAW President Shawn Fein announced that workers at the General Motors assembly plants in Wentzville, Missouri, those at the Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio, and those at the Ford plant in Michigan, would be the first to go on strike starting today.
The three factories employ around 13,500 people. According to Fein, this is the first time in history that strikes have been declared at the same time at all three companies.
The union and the three companies have been negotiating since July the signing of a new collective agreement for the next four years. But The UAW complains that manufacturers are not negotiating in good faith at a time when they are making millions in profits.
The union demands a salary increase of 36% in four years, the reinstatement of traditional pensions, the reduction of working hours and the unionization of workers in battery production factories.
“For generations, auto workers sacrificed a lot to keep the industry alive and strong, especially during the economic crisis and pandemic,” Biden said, and today “they deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create.
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Source: La Opinion