Biden: Automakers should go further in contract negotiations with UAW

Posted at 12:35 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 12:35:16-04

President Joe Biden spoke briefly on Friday about the United Auto Workers union strike against the Big Three automakers – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis – saying the automakers should go further in the contract negotiations.

Speaking for about four minutes, Biden said, "In the past decade, auto companies have seen record profits, including the last years, because of the extraordinary skills and sacrifices of the UAW workers. Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers."

Related: Here's what vehicles are built at the 3 plants the UAW is striking

He also spoke about the power of unions and referenced a Treasury report recently released which said unions are good for both union and non-union workers.

As the UAW contract with the Big Three expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night, they went on a targeted strike, targeting certain auto plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Based on how the bargaining is going, UAW President Shawn Fain said they could announce more locals to stand up and strike throughout the process. He said the locals that aren't called to strike would maintain "a constant strike readiness" as they work under an expired agreement.

"Over generations, auto workers sacrificed so much to keep the industry alive and strong, especially through the economic crisis and pandemic," Biden said. "Workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they help create for an enterprise."

Biden said that while the companies have made some significant offers, "they should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts.

"Record corporate profits, which they have, should be shared by record contracts for the UAW," he added.

Biden also said that he is dispatching two White House senior advisors to Detroit to help in the negotiations – Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and Senior Advisor Gene Sperling, who previously was the diretor of the National Economic Council.