Shawn Fain, President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), called for the government to ensure pension security for workers if corporations don’t pay won’t for them.
The comments were made at the UAW’s National Community Action Program Conference in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of UAW members had gathered there to discuss policy and do activism workshops for the upcoming election. The UAW has yet to endorse a candidate, although other major unions have supported President Joe Biden. Fain indicated that the UAW might announce an endorsement soon.
In his speech, Fain criticized attempts to “divide” the working class. The divisions are on issues like gender, sexuality, and border security. He subtly referenced GOP talking points without naming the party, reports Detroit News.
Fain also said that political activism was vital. It helped the UAW succeed in recent contract negotiations with Detroit’s three major automakers.
“We have to take the issues that matter to the working class and poor, and we have to make our political leaders stand up with us,” Fain said during his opening remarks. “Our message in doing this is simple: Support our cause, or you will not get our endorsement.”
These contracts resulted in big wage raises. They also had cost-of-living adjustments and better retirement packages and secured billions in investments.
Yet, the UAW’s goal is to secure pensions and healthcare for all 146,000 auto workers. But, it remains unfulfilled. This is a big issue for those hired after 2007, who have 401(k)s. This demand’s cost is estimated to be in the billions.
Fain declined to comment on speculations about President Biden potentially addressing UAW members or about the union’s endorsement.
Regarding former President Trump, Fain stated, “My personal view of Trump’s track record and who he is as a person… is pretty much contrary to everything we stand for.” He mentioned that the UAW would hold formal discussions on its endorsement, “and then we’ll go from there.”
Reports, including The Washington Post, say the UAW may endorse President Biden at this week’s conference.
President Biden, who has claimed to be “the most pro-union president in American history,” supported UAW members by joining a picket line in Michigan last September.
The UAW initiated strikes against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in September, concluding with historic agreements in late October after six weeks.