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Biden wants automakers to give more to UAW workers in strike negotiations

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By Steve Holland and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden called on automakers on Friday to give more to workers who quit their jobs at Detroit’s biggest automakers, accusing them of enjoying record profits without sharing them equally with workers.

The UAW strike at three factories owned by General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, owner of Chrysler, kicked off the most ambitious US industrial union action in decades.

“No one wants a strike, but I respect the right of workers to take advantage of their options under the collective bargaining system,” Biden said. “I understand their frustration.”

Automakers have made some significant offers in negotiations so far, Biden said.

“But I think they should go further to ensure that record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW,” he said, echoing the sentiments of union leaders.

Unions like the UAW — which represents 146,000 workers — are critical to Biden’s plan to win reelection in 2024. He needs their support to win back key states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, which are poised to bear the brunt of any major strike against car manufacturers.

The UAW has yet to endorse Biden, the only major union not to do so.

A prolonged strike could be a drag on the US economy which has performed better than expected but is unlikely to lead to a recession, analysts say.

Biden said he would send two members of his team, Gene Sperling and Labor Secretary Julie Su, to Detroit to ensure the administration is involved in the talks and a “win-win deal.”

Biden, who predicted over Labor Day weekend that the union would not strike, spoke Thursday with union and automaker leaders.

The Biden administration is also discussing emergency aid to protect small businesses that supply U.S. automakers, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Former US President Trump, who is Biden’s main Republican challenger for re-election in 2024, criticized Biden’s push for electric vehicles on social media as a “total disaster” and attacked UAW leaders in an interview that will air on Sunday.

“Auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership,” Trump said in the interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Under Trump, auto companies “would likely go bankrupt,” Biden’s campaign said in a statement. “Trump will say literally anything to distract from his long history of failing to deliver on promises and failing American workers.”


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business lobbying groups, on Friday blamed Biden for the strikes and said they would lead to higher costs for non-union workers and lost profits for other businesses.

“The UAW strike and indeed the ‘summer of strikes’ is the natural outcome of the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to promoting unionization at all costs,” said Suzanne Clark, the group’s chief executive, urging both groups to return to the negotiating table. and end the strike.

Biden, 80, ties his 2024 reelection bid to the health of the economy, highlighting job growth, rising wages and easing recession fears, which a prolonged strike could threaten.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose, Steve Holland, Jarret Renshaw and Susan Heavey; Editing by Alison Williams, Jason Neely, Nick Zieminski, Heather Timmons and Deepa Babington)