Shawn Fain, the head of the United Auto Workers, doesn’t agree with Joe Biden’s optimism that a strike won’t happen.
According to Fain, the union is focused on reaching a deal with the automakers.
He criticized the way negotiations have been conducted in the past. He claims that companies would drag out talks past the deadline, and they would then rush to drop everything and make a deal. He says that the union will not follow these rules.
During his speech at the Labor Day holiday in Philadelphia, Biden dismissed the notion of a strike. But, Fain noted that the union would be negotiating with the Detroit Three automakers, and a strike vote would be possible if their demands aren't met by September 14.
Notably, the UAW has not endorsed Biden for re-election, even though it did so in 2020. Fain noted that the organization still withholds its endorsement until certain issues, such as the shift toward electric cars, are resolved. He emphasized that UAW endorsements are earned and not freely granted.
He also criticized the slow pay raises that the union has experienced in the past. Moreover, he questioned the automakers' commitment to union jobs, claiming that they would rather be at the bottom than at the top. He stated that the companies do not view this as a problem, as they would rather be at the bottom.
In a statement, General Motors stated that it made progress during the negotiations and that it has offered to increase wages significantly above the contract that was reached last year. However, the union claimed that the company was refusing to bargain in a good faith manner.
The ongoing negotiations between the UAW and the automakers will be a test of Biden's pro-union credentials. The union is still firm on its demands, and a possible strike looms, which means the outcome of the talks will be unpredictable.