US auto workers expand strike as Biden prepares to join picket line
Baku, September 23, AZERTAC
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has expanded its strike against three of the major carmakers in the United States, with employees from 38 parts distribution centres joining in the protest, according to Al Jazeera.
Friday’s expansion affects plants owned by the companies General Motors (GM) and Stellantis across 20 states.
But the one company not affected is Ford, the third target of the strike. In a video conference on Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain indicated “real progress” had been made with the automaker.
“We still have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognise that Ford is showing that they are serious about reaching a deal,” Fain said. “At GM and Stellantis, it’s a different story.”
The strike’s expansion could have serious consequences for US consumers, who may face shortages of car parts and higher vehicle prices if the walk-out continues over the long term.
With Friday’s additions, the strike now encompasses nearly 10 percent of UAW’s members or approximately 18,600 workers, up from around 13,000. The walk-out began last week with three assembly plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, as workers pushed for a 36-percent pay increase over four years.
The UAW has also called for wider access to pensions, shorter hours and the elimination of a tiered salary scale that disadvantages newer employees.
The strike is the first in the UAW’s 88-year history — and it is set to make history again as US President Joe Biden prepares to make a visit next week.
“Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create,” Biden announced on social media on Friday.
“It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
Biden’s appearance on the picket line would likely be a first for a sitting US president in modern history.