U.S. auto union expands strike to parts centers… Biden visits next week

Sean Payne, Chairman of the United Auto Workers (UAW)[사진=로이터·연합뉴스]

The United Auto Workers (UAW), which is conducting simultaneous strikes at the ‘Big 3 American automakers (Ford, GM, Stellantis)’ calling for wage increases, has decided to expand the scale of the strike. However, Ford, which is making progress in negotiations, was excluded from the scope of the strike expansion.

According to the Financial Times (FT) on the 22nd (local time), UAW Chairman Sean Payne announced that the strike sites will be expanded from the current three factories to 38 parts supply centers of GM and Stellantis in nine states in the United States. The extended strike began at noon on the 22nd.

Last week, Chairman Payne announced that he would expand the strike if no significant progress was made in labor-management negotiations by noon on the 22nd. The UAW has been on strike at three factories, one from each of the Big Three companies, and about 13,000 out of 146,000 workers from the Big Three companies have participated.

The UAW began picketing on the 14th, demanding a wage increase of up to 40% over the next four years due to inflation and other factors. They cite the fact that executives’ wages have risen rapidly as evidence. On the other hand, the company is fighting back by sticking to the maximum 20% increase, citing the decline in competitiveness due to increased costs.

Chairman Payne emphasized on this day through social networking service

He also urged U.S. President Joe Biden to visit the strike site and join the UAW’s picket protest.

Accordingly, President Biden promised to tour the strike site on the 26th. President Biden, who claims to be a ‘union-friendly president’, said through mentioned.

In this case, President Biden will visit Michigan a day before former U.S. President Donald Trump, who is considered the next presidential candidate. Therefore, it is believed that this visit is also a move by President Biden conscious of his re-election next year.

Jeremy Suri, a historian and presidential scholar at the University of Texas, said, “It is very unusual for a president to visit striking workers,” adding that even former President Jimmy Carter, who showed pro-labor actions, had never visited a strike site.

He added, “This visit will be a very, very significant change in that it confirms Biden’s pro-striking workers bias rather than his pro-industry or neutral bias.”

Meanwhile, as the UAW expands the strike site to a parts supply center instead of other factories, GM and Stellantis will face difficulties in repairing and inspecting customer cars, which will increase public opinion pressure and financial burden on the UAW company. The FT reported that this was aimed at having the desired effect.

Meanwhile, the company said, “We question whether UAW leadership even had an interest in reaching an agreement in a timely manner,” adding, “They have the best interests of our workers and the sustainability of our U.S. operations in mind in this highly competitive market. “They appear to be more interested in pursuing their own political agenda rather than engaging in negotiations,” he criticized.

Regarding the strike situation, U.S. securities firm Wedbush predicted, “To put it simply, no automaker will accept the wage increase proposal (proposed by the UAW).” However, he noted that Ford’s progress in negotiations will put pressure on GM and Stellantis.

Reporter Information Jang Seong-won

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