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Biden Expresses Support for Striking UAW Workers

President Biden expressed his support for the decision by United Auto Workers to go on strike, as around 13,000 autoworkers walked off the job at midnight on Friday. The president, who considers himself a pro-union president, announced that two top administration officials, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior adviser Gene Sperling, will be sent to Detroit to assist with negotiations between the UAW and the companies involved. While President Biden wants a resolution for UAW workers, he also recognizes the negative impact a prolonged strike would have on the U.S. economy, especially in an election year.

In his remarks in the Roosevelt Room, President Biden emphasized that nobody wants a strike and stated that workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they help create for their employers. He acknowledged the efforts of all parties involved and praised companies for making significant offers, but he believes that they need to do more. Currently, the auto companies are offering a 20% raise, among other things.

The strike began after union leaders failed to reach an agreement on a new contract with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. The UAW workers have several demands, including a four-day, 32-hour work week for the pay of a five-day, 40-hour week, substantial pay raises, more paid time off, and pension benefits instead of 401K savings plans. This is the first time in UAW history that workers are striking at all three companies simultaneously.

Responding to the UAW strike, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce placed partial blame on President Biden, citing the administration’s approach to promoting unionization. The Chamber of Commerce argues that the strike and the broader “summer of strikes” are a result of the administration’s pro-union stance.

President Biden had spoken with UAW leaders leading up to the strike and had expressed optimism that a strike would not occur. Other politicians, including Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, have also shown their support for the UAW workers and visited them on the picket line in Toledo, stating that a strike is always a last resort.

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