On November 9, President Joe Biden will meet with the head of the United Auto Workers union, Shawn Fain, in Belvidere, Illinois, where the two are scheduled to discuss plans to reopen a factory that Stellantis once intended to close.
The president and Fain will have the chance to officially present the tentative contract agreements following the end of a nearly 45-day union strike that targeted Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. During the meeting, the White House indicated that Biden would “Highlight his commitment to delivering for working families and creating good-paying union jobs, as well as the UAW’s historic agreement that includes reopening a plant and bringing thousands of new jobs back to Belvidere.”
In the following weeks, 146,000 union members must ratify the contracts, which would result in a significant salary increase for auto workers. The union also salvaged the idled factory in Belvidere, a small city of 25,000 on the state’s northern border, through the agreement with Stellantis.
Biden has shown historic support for the UAW and its demands throughout the union’s six-week strike, which was suspended in the final days of October pending autoworker ratification of contract terms. Still, the UAW has yet to endorse the President. Union chief Shawn Fain has previously suggested that the organization will wait to side with a political candidates until after it has confirmed its agreements with Detroit-Three OEMs. The historically left-leaning union is one of the primary holdouts for endorsement as other labor organizations have already backed the Democratic president.
Under the terms of the agreement with the UAW, Stellantis agreed to construct a new midsize pickup truck fueled by gas in Belvidere and establish an electric vehicle battery plant in the same city. Around 1,200 workers will be rehired at the idled plant, while another 1,300 will be hired at the battery factory.