Democrats embrace Biden’s upcoming trip to Michigan picket lines


As the strike against the Big Three Detroit automakers entered its 10th day Sunday, Democrats are praising President Biden’s visit to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for the autoworkers on strike.

The White House announced the news Friday as members of the United Auto Workers walked out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts warehouses and distribution centers in 20 states. Ford was not relieved as the strike escalated, adding another 5,600 workers to the total of 18,300 workers – about 12 percent of the union’s Autoworker members.

Biden’s visit to Michigan – which labor experts say is likely the first time a sitting president has visited the strike in at least 100 years – will draw attention from his potential opponent in the 2024 presidential race, former President Donald Trump. It will arrive a day earlier than Trump planned. Speech to hundreds of union members in Michigan.

“President Biden is doing what he’s always done, which is to stand with American workers,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Defending the president’s decision to visit, Buttigieg said a strong deal would be a “win-win” for both parties: “Record profits should lead to record wages and record benefits for workers.”

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also hailed Biden’s visit as a “historic event” because of the “crisis of inequality in our economy.”

Asked about the UAW leadership’s decision to withhold its endorsement of Biden for now, Ocasio-Cortez said, “It needs to be earned,” adding, “President Biden is working toward this, especially when He’ll be down at Michigan on Tuesday to earn it.”

progress north of the border

The strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis began on September 15 at three auto manufacturing plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio that assemble the Ford Bronco, Chevrolet Colorado and Jeep Wrangler.

The strike expanded Friday to focus on warehouses that ship parts to dealerships and other locations for vehicle repairs. That move could increase pressure on General Motors and Stellantis as more U.S. drivers looking for these parts could feel the consequences of closing locations across the country: Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Orlando, Boston, Reno and ahead of him.

See where UAW workers are striking or temporarily laid off

Negotiations between Ford and Unifor, the union representing 5,400 Ford workers in Canada, are running parallel to the UAW’s bargaining with the Big Three in the United States.

Unifor announced Sunday that 54 percent of workers had voted to approve a contract that includes a nearly 20 percent wage increase over three years for production workers as well as the restoration of living wages. Unifor said its focus is on reaching an agreement with Ford first – a deal that could serve as a template before starting talks with General Motors and Stellantis.

Canadian Ford workers will get a 10 per cent pay increase in the first year of their contracts, faster advancement to top pay, pension improvements and cost-of-living adjustments for the first time since 2008.

The U.S. side’s talks with Ford also continued on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private talks, but it was not clear if the parties would continue to meet with Stellantis and GM. Or not.

UAW President Shawn Fenn said the union will not expand the scope of the strike against Ford at this time because negotiations are progressing and the company has made more concessions. These include Ford’s agreement to restore cost-of-living adjustments in wages and offer new job-protection provisions. However, the union is continuing its current strike against a Ford factory in Michigan.

For its part, Ford said Friday that it is “working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that will reward our workforce and enable Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future.” Ford said: “Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to overcome on key economic issues. Ultimately, the issues are interconnected and must be worked into an overall agreement that supports our mutual success.

Trouble with salary levels

Fain has said the new focus on warehouse workers is because they are often stuck on a lower pay scale than assembly-plant workers, with those hired after 2015 getting a maximum of $25 per hour after eight years of work. Get paid hourly. Although GM has offered to replace those workers in the top pay tier, the union also wants cost-of-living adjustments and other job security provisions for those workers.

Two striking UAW workers at the same plant, completely different lives

On Friday, about a dozen workers were protesting outside a GM Parts facility in an industrial area of ​​Rancho Cucamonga, California, which employs 72 people. They wore T-shirts reading “Cola and Fair Pay Now” and waved signs with slogans such as “Saving the American Dream”.

One employee, Wornell Mitchell, said he has worked with GM for about five years and makes $55,000 a year, including bonuses and overtime. He called warehouse work “a labor-intensive job”, where workers spend the entire day on their feet, with one 30-minute lunch break and an additional 20-minute break.

“Our wages do not reflect what the company makes in revenue,” said Mitchell, vice president of Local 6645. “They want to keep our wages low” even though their CEOs and top executives make bank.

“I honestly think they’re out of touch with reality,” he said of company leaders. “They’re not going to do the labor” that supports their wages.

The union is demanding a 36 percent pay hike in four years, better retirement benefits, more paid leave and other allowances. Full-time UAW workers today earn $18 to $32 an hour, plus annual profit-sharing bonuses that have added up to thousands of dollars per employee over the past four years. Temporary workers earn $16 to $19 an hour and do not receive bonuses.

All automakers are offering a hike of about 20 per cent over four years and other perks that they say is their best offer in decades. They argue that they cannot meet all of the UAW’s demands and remain viable companies capable of investing in the new factories required for the expensive transition to electric vehicles.

GM on Friday called the strike extension “unnecessary” and accused union leaders of “manipulating the bargaining process for their personal agendas.”

“We have now presented five different economic proposals which are historic,” the company said. The company said the 20 percent raise in its latest proposal would give 85 percent of GM’s UAW workforce a base-salary income boost of $82,000 a year by the end of the contract. It is also offering two weeks of paid parental leave and other benefits.

Stellantis said it has submitted a new proposal with non-economic proposals sent to the UAW on Thursday but did not receive a response. It said its 20 percent wage increase proposal would increase annual earnings for all its full-time UAW employees from $80,000 to $96,000 by the end of the contract. The company also questioned “whether the union leadership has ever had any interest in reaching an agreement in a timely manner.”

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