President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against Detroit’s major automakers on Friday. He called on both sides to continue negotiations for a mutually beneficial agreement.
Biden acknowledged the significant role of auto workers in the American economy and credited UAW members’ skill and sacrifices for the recent record profits of automakers. He emphasized the need for those profits to be shared fairly among the workers.
The president referred to a recent Treasury Department report that supports the positive impact of unions on workers’ wages, homeownership, and reducing inequality for both union and non-union workers. As the automotive industry transitions to clean energy, Biden emphasized that the shift should benefit both workers and companies.
Biden stated, “The UAW remains at the heart of the economy, and the big three companies continue to lead in innovation, excellence, quality, and leadership.”
Although Biden expressed a desire to avoid strikes, he affirmed the rights of workers within the framework of collective bargaining. He stated, “Record corporate profits, which they have, should be shared by record contracts for the UAW.”
To support the negotiations, Biden announced that Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and a White House senior advisor will be dispatched to Detroit.
The UAW initiated the strike against the three major automakers — Ford Motor Co (F), General Motors Co (GM), and Stellantis NV (STLA) — after their contracts expired at midnight on Thursday.
This strike is historic as it is the first time the UAW has simultaneously walked out on all three American unionized automakers.