WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is asking major US automakers and their labor unions to reach an agreement that takes “every step possible to avoid painful factory shutdowns” as the sector transitions to electric vehicles.
The president has not yet been attended by the union of auto workers as he seeks re-election, despite his broad support from organized workers in the 2024 campaign. The UAW represents 146,000 workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, which are commonly known as the three largest automakers. The workers’ contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. on September 14th.
Biden said in a statement Monday that as the market moves away from gasoline-powered cars, the auto industry must still provide “good jobs that can support a family” and ensure that “shifts are fair and look forward to retooling, restarting and rehiring in the factories and communities themselves.” at similar wages, while giving existing workers the first opportunity to fill those positions.”
“UAW helped create the American middle class, and as we move forward in this transition to new technologies, the UAW deserves a contract that supports the middle class,” Biden said.
Sean Finn, the head of the union, demanded an end to the different levels of wages among workers. He also seeks double-digit wage increases and the restoration of cost-of-living wages, defined pensions for all workers, and the restoration of health coverage for retirees. The union proposed a 32-hour work week, instead of the traditional 40 hours.