According to CNN news on Thursday, September 15, 2023, President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation on Friday about the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers union, which has affected production at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
The strike, which began on Thursday at midnight, is the first time in the union’s history that it has struck all three of the nation’s unionized automakers at the same time.
The UAW is seeking higher wages, better benefits, more job security, and greater investment in electric vehicles from the automakers, who have been enjoying record profits in recent years.
The union also wants to end the two-tier wage system that pays newer workers less than veteran employees, and to increase the share of unionized workers at the companies.
The automakers, however, have argued that they need to maintain flexibility and competitiveness in a rapidly changing industry, especially as they face challenges from foreign rivals and new entrants in the electric vehicle market.
They have also cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global chip shortage on their operations and finances.
The talks between the UAW and the automakers collapsed on Wednesday night after the union rejected the latest offers from the companies.
The UAW said that the offers were “insulting” and “unacceptable”, and that they failed to address the core issues of the workers.
The union also accused the automakers of bargaining in bad faith and trying to divide the workers.
The strike has idled about 13,000 workers at three targeted plants: GM’s Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.
The plants produce some of the most popular and profitable vehicles for the companies, such as the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, and Ford Bronco.
The strike could also affect other plants that depend on parts from the striking facilities, leading to more temporary layoffs and production disruptions.
According to Anderson Economic Group, a 10-day strike against all three automakers would cost the US economy $5 billion.
Biden, who has been a longtime supporter of unions and labor rights, is expected to express his solidarity with the striking workers and urge both sides to resume negotiations and reach a fair agreement as soon as possible.
Biden has also made boosting the US auto industry and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles a key part of his economic agenda.
The UAW strike is one of several labor actions that have taken place across the country in recent weeks, as workers demand better pay and working conditions amid a tight labor market and rising inflation.
Workers at John Deere, Kellogg’s, Kaiser Permanente, and other companies have also gone on strike or authorized strike actions.