In the United States, Joe Biden supports auto strikers

During the United Auto Workers (UAW) picket line in front of a Ford embly plant in Wayne, Michigan, September 15, 2023.

Joe Biden is clearly committed to the side of automobile workers, who began targeted strikes on Friday, September 15 against the three historic American manufacturers, General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler).

“Let’s be clear, no one wants a strike. But I respect workers’ rights to use their options in the collective bargaining system and I understand their frustration.”, declared the Democratic president in a speech at the White House. Even though car manufacturers have “makes significant offers”Joe Biden believes that“They should go further to ensure that record profits for corporations mean record contracts for the UAW”, the United Auto Workers, the historic union of the sector.

The cumulative global operating profit of the three Detroit (Michigan) manufacturers has indeed soared from 4.8 billion dollars (4.5 billion euros) in 2020 to 29.4 billion dollars in 2021 and to 37, 2 billion in 2022.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Automobile: Detroit’s “Big Three” under threat of strike

The strikers are demanding around 36% salary increase over four years, a thirty-two hour week, and a return to pensions with guaranteed benefits. The three companies have made proposals to increase remuneration of around 20%. GM boss Mary Barravery close to Joe Biden, expressed his disappointment. “I am extremely frustrated and disappointedshe told CNBC on Friday. We don’t need to strike right now. We have put a historic offer on the table. »

The UAW has chosen to lead the strike against the three manufacturers, which is a first, but for the moment targeting only one factory per manufacturer. Employees walked off the job at the Ford Bronco site in Detroit, at the Stellantis Jeep site in Toledo, Ohio, and at a GM pickup truck plant in Missouri. The union targets the industrial infrastructure that produces the manufacturers’ most profitable products, but so far only about 12,700 workers are on strike, out of a total of 140,000 auto union members.

Offensive strategy of the UAW, the historic union of the sector

This tactic makes it possible to spare the union’s financial strength and to leave company management in uncertainty. It’s that of the new boss of the UAW, Shawn Fain. This former Chrysler electrician, worker from Ohio, embodies the left wing of unionism. At 54, he was elected this winter after a corruption scandal hit the union in 2020, leading some former leaders to prison, and the federal state demanded that its president now be elected directly by activists and not only by the heads of union sections.

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