President Joe Biden on Friday dispatched two of his top aides to Detroit to help resolve the strike by unionized autoworkers, expressing sympathy for the union by suggesting that the Big 3 automakers should share their “record profits.”
“No one wants to strike,” the Democratic president said in brief remarks at the White House. “But I respect workers’ right to use their options under the collective bargaining system and I understand the workers’ frustration.”
The United Auto Workers announced a targeted strike at three factories after talks broke down with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Biden said he is sending acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior aide Gene Sperling to Detroit to help reach a “win-win” contract for the companies and their employees.
Biden said he called during the first day of negotiations and encouraged both sides to stay at the table as long as possible.
“The companies have made some significant offers,” Biden said. “But I believe they should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”
Members of the United Auto Workers union began picketing at a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. It is the first time in the union’s 88-year history that all three companies were targeted simultaneously.