President Joe Biden had a meeting with United Auto Workers (UAW) union chief and major auto industry executives on Thursday, in an attempt to prevent a possible strike due to a contract dispute, The Hill reported.
The White House confirmed that Biden spoke with Shawn Fain, UAW’s president and the company leaders, to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
The discussion took place just hours before the deadline for reaching an agreement to avert a strike at several factories unless General Motors GM, Ford F and Stellantis STLA meet the union’s demands. The strike eventually took place, with several workers staging a walkout after the deadlines crossed.
As per a report by the Washington Post, Biden’s administration is also in talks regarding emergency aid to protect smaller firms that supply U.S. auto manufacturers in the event of a strike. This is to safeguard those firms that cannot withstand the impact of a strike beyond six to eight weeks.
UAW’s demands include a 36% increase in general pay over the next four years, an end to different wage tiers for factory jobs, and a restoration of benefit pensions for new hires among other changes. Furthermore, there is a dispute over the union’s representation and benefits for workers at electric vehicle battery factories, an issue that has emerged as the Biden administration pushes for wider adoption of electric vehicles.
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