One of America’s largest unions announced Tuesday that it will be voting to authorize a strike next week in negotiations with top automakers.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) is in negotiations with the Big Three automakers, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, and will vote next week on whether to authorize a strike following stalled negotiations, allowing union leadership to call a strike at any time, according to a UAW announcement.
Current contracts are set to expire on Sept. 14, with the union demanding higher wages, support for retirees, greater job security and an end to wage tiers from the three automakers in negotiations, according to a press release.
“Today marks 30 days until the union’s contract with the Big Three expires, but bargaining at all three tables has yet to progress beyond non-economic issues,” UAW said in the announcement. “Fain will address the slow pace of negotiations and announce preparation for strike authorization votes to be held next week by 150,000 UAW members at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.”
Shawn Fain, UAW president, has previously criticized Biden for his push towards electric vehicles (EV), noting that wages at EV plants are lower than at standard plants. Fain pointed at the Ultium Cells plant, General Motors’ EV battery project, in particular for the low wages.
“I support a fair transition to a clean energy future,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “That means ensuring that Big Three auto jobs are good jobs that can support a family; that auto companies should honor the right to organize; take every possible step to avoid painful plant closings; and ensure that when transitions are needed, the transitions are fair and look to retool, reboot, and rehire in the same factories and communities at comparable wages, while giving existing workers the first shot to fill those jobs.”
Biden has yet to receive an endorsement from the union, which has long supported Democratic candidates, due to the president’s support for EVs. UAW is concerned that phasing out gas-powered vehicles will threaten jobs for its automotive workers.
“At this critical moment in negotiations, we appreciate President Biden’s support for strong contracts that ensure good paying union jobs now and pave the way for a just transition to an EV future,” Fain said in response Tuesday to Biden’s statement. “We agree with the president that the Big Three’s joint venture battery plants should have the same strong pay and safety standards that generations of UAW members have fought for.”
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