President Biden met privately with Shawn Fain, leader of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, on July 19 as the automotive industry prepares for the possibility of a labor strike.
Biden reportedly asked to speak with Fain separately after learning that the UAW had contacted his administration to schedule a meeting for top aides to hear the union’s perspective on heated contract negotiations with Detroit car manufacturers. Since the Wednesday conversation, neither Fain nor the White House has shed light on what was discussed, although Jonah Furrman, a union representative, informed POLITICO that the UAW chief asked for the President’s support in the ongoing conflict.
Despite its historically Democrat leanings, the union has so far refused to endorse the Biden Administration in its 2024 re-election campaign, citing the President’s ambitious electric vehicle strategy. Battery-powered cars have become a sticking point for UAW members, who, while voicing support for eco-friendly transportation alternatives, are worried that EVs will lead to worse working conditions and fewer jobs in the automotive sector.
The UAW is currently bargaining with car manufacturers to settle on the terms of a new contract, with the current agreement set to end on September 14. Fain has promised to aggressively pursue the union’s interest in his talks with OEM executives and to resist “corporate greed.” Should the talks fail to produce amenable terms by the deadline, an increasingly likely scenario, the organization says its members are prepared to strike.