With negotiations ongoing, the United Auto Workers amped up its campaign for dramatic improvements in wages and benefits, while the union’s leadership tangled with former President Donald Trump.
The union also has warned General Motors, Ford and Stellantis it could widen the strike, starting Friday, if more progress is not made at the bargaining table. So far, the strike has been limited to three targeted GM, Ford and Stellantis plants in Missouri, Michigan and Ohio.
“I have been clear with the Big Three every step of the way. And I’m going to be crystal clear again right now. If we don’t make serious progress by noon on Friday, Sept. 22nd, more locals will be called on to Stand Up and join the strike,” Fain said.
“That will mark more than a week since our first members walked out. And that will mark more than a week of the Big Three failing to make progress in negotiations toward reaching a deal that does right by our members,” he added.
Fain added autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three. “We are not waiting around, and we are not messing around. So, noon on Friday, September 22nd is a new deadline,” he said.
Fain blasts Trump
Meanwhile, Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 with his vague promises to champion the cause of working Americans, chided the UAW’s leadership for supporting President Joe Biden’s push for electric vehicles. Trump claims the EV push will kill Detroit’s automakers.
As he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump now expects to hold an event with autoworkers whom he claims are being sold out by the union leadership and the Biden administration, which has labored to maintain a balance between the Democratic party’s traditional union supporters and environmentalists eager to tackle climate change.
The UAW’s position, while it has stopped short of endorsing Biden, argues the U.S. can shift to EVs and pay workers are fair and equitable wage.
UAW chief Fain blasted Trump and his plans for an appearance in Detroit, which is the center of current negotiations.
“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said. “We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class.”
Conservatives not supporting UAW
While the national media has fixated on the UAW’s non-endorsement of Biden, the UAW strike also has proven to be a challenge for Republicans and the conservative media.
Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, has said all the UAW strikers should be fired, citing President Ronald Reagan’s decision to dismiss 11,000 striking air traffic controllers, belong to PATCO.
Fox Business invited Bob Nardelli, who led the old Chrysler Corp. into bankruptcy in 2008, to attack the UAW’s wage demands as unreasonable and unworkable — a common refrain among analysts and conservative commentators.
The UAW’s attacks on billionaires also have been criticized on Fox as a form of class warfare, while the conservative National Review attacked the UAW for being a left-wing union.
Fain does not shrink from saying the UAW is fighting to reverse a long slide in the wages of workers, forcing increasing numbers of Americans to live “paycheck to paycheck.”
During an appearance on Fox Business, former UAW President Bob King also was quick to point out that Trump did nothing to better the lot of UAW members or working Americans.
“Remember when (Trump) told the workers in Lordstown not to sell their houses,” King told Fox’s Neil Cavuto, referring to GM’s 2018 decision to shutter its big assembly complex in eastern Ohio. “Trump didn’t lift a baby finger to make any difference.”