Biden's Plea for Unity
U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday called for union auto workers and Detroit's Big Three automakers to come together on a new agreement before their contracts expire next month. "I’m asking all sides to work together to forge a fair agreement," Biden said in a statement as talks continue between the UAW and Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis' Chrysler brand.
Sustaining the Middle Class
"The UAW helped create the American middle class and as we move forward in this transition to new technologies, the UAW deserves a contract that sustains the middle class," Biden said in the statement released by the White House.
The Union's Stand
The union represents 150,000 U.S. hourly workers at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis and has not ruled out striking all three U.S. automakers if new contracts are not reached by the Sept. 14 deadline.
UAW President's Efforts and Criticisms
UAW President Shawn Fain briefed Biden on the contract talks last month and met with members of Congress as the union pushes for higher wages and benefits. He has also criticized some of the Biden administration's electric vehicle policies, with the union so far not endorsing Biden's re-election bid.
Biden's Commitment to Unions and Climate Change
Biden, a Democrat who is seeking a second term in the 2024 presidential election, campaigned on union support and has weighed in on labor talks in the railroad industry and other sectors. He has also made addressing climate change a key part of his agenda. "I support a fair transition to a clean-energy future," he said on Monday.
UAW’s Vision for the Future
UAW is seeking to include workers at battery plants in its contracts. Stellantis, in a statement, said it "remains committed to working constructively and collaboratively with the UAW to negotiate a new agreement that balances the concerns of our 43,000 employees with our vision for the future."
Representatives for the UAW, Ford, and GM did not immediately respond to requests for comment.