Biden on Friday urged the Detroit 3 to offer more concessions to the UAW in order to end a strike that threatens the U.S. economy, saying he would send two members of his team to Detroit to engage both sides.
“They’ve been around the clock and the companies have made some significant offers. But I believe they should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW,” Biden said about the negotiations on Friday at the White House.
Biden said he is dispatching acting labor secretary Julie Su and White House senior adviser Gene Sperling “to offer their full support for the parties in reaching a contract.”
The UAW launched an unprecedented strike at all three of the Detroit 3 automakers, beginning a potentially lengthy showdown over wages and job security. The union and Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, the maker of Jeep and Chrysler, failed to reach a contract agreement by the midnight deadline.
“Auto companies have seen record profits, including in the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of UAW workers. Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers,” Biden said.
“The bottom line is that auto workers helped create America’s middle class. They deserve a contract that sustains them and the middle class,” he added.
An extended work stoppage could send shock waves through the U.S. economy and damage one of the pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda: the EV transition.
The UAW fears the move will result in fewer jobs with less pay. Leaders have also said the billions of dollars in funding the Biden administration has showered on carmakers to speed the transition failed to guarantee benefits to union workers.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.