President Biden celebrates UAW’s major victories in the Belvidere rally, highlighting significant labor agreements with Ford, GM, and Stellantis and the future of auto industry unionization.
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A Historic Moment for Unions and Auto Workers
In an empowering gathering in Belvidere, Illinois, President Joe Biden, clad in a red UAW (United Auto Workers) T-shirt, stood alongside UAW President Shawn Fain, marking significant achievements in the “Stand Up Strike” against major domestic automakers.
Biden’s presence and attire symbolized strong support for the union’s cause.
UAW’s Significant Agreements
The UAW has reached pivotal agreements with Ford, GM, and Stellantis following a strike initiated on September 15.
These agreements promise a substantial 25% wage increase through April 2028, along with pay for striking workers, a just transition for engine workers moving towards electric vehicles, and eliminating tiered compensation.
Belvidere Assembly Plant: A Testament to Resilience
The choice of Belvidere for the rally was noteworthy, highlighting the reopening of Stellantis’ Belvidere Assembly Plant under the new agreement.
This renaissance involves a $4.8 billion investment for a parts distribution center and a new $3.2 billion battery production facility, showcasing the commitment to innovation and the auto industry’s future.
Biden’s Long-Standing Support for Labor
In his speech, Biden reminisced about his long history of supporting labor and his recent solidarity visit to the GM Willow Run Distribution Center in Michigan.
He emphasized the crucial role of auto workers in saving the industry during the 2008 financial crisis, advocating that their current prosperity should reflect the workers’ contributions.
Applauding Negotiations and Leadership
Biden praised Ford, GM, and Stellantis for their good-faith negotiations and lauded Fain’s leadership in achieving these landmark deals.
He acknowledged Fain’s significant role in steering the union towards these successes, highlighting the importance of strong and resolute leadership.
Fain’s Vision and Biden’s Economic Outlook
Fain, reflecting on his tenure, expressed pride in the accomplishments under his leadership.
Echoing similar sentiments, Biden described his approach to the economy as one grounded in the realities of everyday people, a perspective he believes is shared with Fain.
Addressing Larger Labor Movement Successes
The president linked the UAW’s success to a broader wave of labor victories, including those at UPS, Kaiser Permanente, and Las Vegas resorts.
He suggested that the UAW’s achievements will positively impact workers nationwide, citing Toyota’s recent decision to increase wages as evidence.
Expanding Union Influence
Fain, invigorated by the victories, announced plans to extend unionization efforts to other automakers.
He emphasized the integral connection between organizing and contract negotiations, signaling a proactive approach toward union expansion.
Recognition of Support and Political Commentary
Biden acknowledged the efforts of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and others in revitalizing Belvidere’s job market.
He also contrasted his administration’s approach to that of his predecessor, particularly in the context of electric vehicles and the auto industry.
A Light Moment Amidst Serious Discussions
Biden lightened the mood with a humorous comment after an audience member’s fall, demonstrating his characteristic approach to addressing criticisms with humor.
This rally marked a pivotal moment for the UAW and the auto industry but for the broader labor movement, signifying a renewed union strength and worker empowerment.