WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – On day one of the targeted strike by the United Auto Workers Union, President Joe Biden addressed the strike.
The contracts cover 145,000 UAW union members at the three companies: General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
They all boosted the amount they were offering to raise wages but it still didn’t meet the union’s demands. Now, questions remain of how much this strike could cost the economy and also the union.
As the clock struck midnight, workers walked off the job at the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, A GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri, and the Stellantis assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
They are targeted strikes designed to hit profit centers at all three automakers
UAW President Shawn Fain said, “It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining.”
Part of the United Auto Workers union’s demands include an immediate 20% raise followed by four additional 5% raises, restoring cost of living increases and retiree health care coverage for all hires.
Ford assembly worker Gery Gunn said, I’m not greedy. I just want to make sure that my family is provided for. Making sure we can eat, bills paid.”
So far, Ford has offered a wage increase of 20% during the life of the contract which the company called “generous.”
GM also offered a 20% increase and Stellantis 17.5%.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra said, “I am very frustrated because I think we had an offer that resonates with the people.”
President Joe Biden backed the UAW on Friday sending senior advisor Gene Sperling, and Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su to Detroit to assist with negotiations.
Biden said, “The bottom line is auto workers helped build America’s middle class. They deserve a contract that sustains them in the middle class.”
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