Before the United Auto Workers (UAW) union began its strike last week after it failed to reach an agreement with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis on a new contract, President Joe Biden was encouraging the sides to work together, and even predicted that the union ultimately wouldn’t strike – comments that drew heavy criticism from UAW President Shawn Fain. Biden later added that automakers should share profits with union members, and noted that he planned to send White House adviser Gene Sperling and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit this week to help in any way they could. Regardless, Fain was quick to note that the Biden Administration would not have any role in the ongoing talks with automakers, and now, it seems as if Biden has reversed course, according to CNBC.
Neither Sperling nor Su will travel to Detroit after all, though the duo could still head there next week, according to a White House official. In the meantime, the UAW did agree to speak with the White House via Zoom, while the latter added that “we’ll continue to assess travel timing based on the active state of negotiations.”
“This battle is not about the president,” Fain said of Biden’s intervention in contract discussions with the Detroit Big Three automakers. “It’s not about the former president or any other person prior to that. This battle is about the workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re fed up with going backwards.”
Meanwhile, Ford and the UAW don’t seems to be particularly close to hammering out a new deal, with each trading jabs in a very public manner in recent days. While the UAW is only striking at one plant belonging to each automaker at the moment, just yesterday, Fain announced that it plans to take action at additional facilities if substantial progress isn’t made by this coming Friday.