Sen. John Fetterman’s (D-Pa.) office announced he will drive from his home in Pennsylvania to an auto plant outside Detroit on Saturday to join the thousands of striking auto workers on the picket line.
“I know which side I’m on. As long as these brave workers continue to walk the picket line, my entire team and I will have their backs,” the freshman senator wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We will support them any way we can until they reach a fair deal.”
The United Auto Workers (UAW) and the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — failed to reach an agreement before the workers’ contracts expired at midnight on Friday.
The union negotiations were centered on pay increases, shorter work weeks, better retirement benefits, career security and concerns about how a shift toward electric vehicles could affect jobs. A majority of the union members agreed to authorize a strike if the deadline passed without a deal.
“It’s time to decide what side you’re on,” Fetterman wrote. “Are you on the side of the Big 3 CEOs who made $74 million last year & are now claiming they can’t afford to pay their workers? Or are you on the side of the [UAW] workers who build the American cars & trucks we Pennsylvanians drive?”
President Biden, who has campaigned on being pro-union, on Friday acknowledged that the Big Three companies needed to “go further.”
“I believe they should go further. … Record corporate profits, which they have, should be shared by record contracts for the UAW,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
“No one wants a strike,” he added. “But I respect workers’ rights to use their options under the collective bargaining system and I understand the workers’ frustration.”
Not all workers are slated to strike at once, either.
UAW President Shawn Fain called on three facilities to kick off the “stand up strike” after a deal wasn’t reached.
“This strategy will keep the companies guessing,” he said during a Facebook Live event shortly after the strike began. “It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining, and if we need to go all out, we will. Everything is on the table.”
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