A strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against the Detroit automakers would provide an opportunity for President Joe Biden and other politicians to take a stance on organized labor, according to UAW President Shawn Fain. During CNBC’s “Last Call” with Brian Sullivan, Fain expressed his belief that the strike would demonstrate where the working-class people in America stand and urged politicians to align themselves accordingly.
He stated, “Either you stand for a billionaire class where everybody else gets left behind, or you stand for the working class, the working-class people vote.” Fain emphasized that the union’s intention is not to strike against General Motors, Ford Motor, and/or Stellantis when contracts for approximately 150,000 auto workers expire on September 14.
However, there are significant gaps between the two sides when it comes to key demands. UAW President Shawn Fain addresses union members during a Solidarity Sunday rally in Warren, Michigan, Aug. 20, 2023 Michael Wayland / CNBC Fain expressed a sense of urgency, stating, “We’re down to the wire.
We have eight days to go.” The UAW is willing to negotiate around the clock, but the final outcome depends on the companies’ response. Fain mentioned that the UAW is scheduled to meet with GM on Thursday and that Stellantis intends to present a counter offer to the UAW’s economic demands by the end of the week.
Fain’s comments on Biden reflect the tension between the UAW leader and the president, who has touted himself as the most pro-union president in history. Fain was “shocked” by Biden’s statement that he was not concerned about a strike, stating that Biden must know something they don’t. The UAW historically supports Democrats, but former President Donald Trump garnered significant support from blue-collar autoworkers during his campaigns.
Fain believes that another Trump presidency would be disastrous and emphasizes the need for the union to unite behind a pro-worker, pro-climate, and pro-democracy political program. The UAW is withholding a reelection endorsement for Biden until concerns regarding the auto industry’s transition to all-electric vehicles, job security, pay, and organizing are addressed.
Fain reiterated that the UAW’s endorsements will be earned based on actions rather than given freely. The outcome of the negotiations and potential strikes against GM, Ford, and Stellantis will have significant implications for the automotive supply chain, the US economy, and domestic manufacturing. President Joe Biden, then a presidential candidate, speaks about new proposals to protect U.S.
jobs during a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan, Sept. 9, 2020. Leah Millis | Reuters