President Biden is sending two negotiators to Detroit to help work out a deal between the United Auto Workers and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su and economic adviser Gene Sperling – who coordinated implementation of the president's COVID relief bill – will attempt to negotiate a new contract between the United Auto Workers and the Big Three, following a historic strike at the companies’ factories in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio that began at midnight.

What You Need To Know

  • President Biden said record auto maker profits should lead to record labor contracts

  • He said the auto industry had helped build the country's middle class

  • The auto industry can lead to a "vibrant, made-in-America future" and good-paying jobs that can support a family, he said

  • Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su and economic adviser Gene Sperling will travel to Detroit to help work out a deal

“Auto companies have seen record profits including the last few years because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of the UAW workers,” President Biden said in a brief press conference at the White House Friday, about 12 hours after the strike began. “But those record profits have not been shared fairly.”

Profits at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis almost doubled between 2013 and 2022, totaling $250 billion, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Over the past four years of the now-expired UAW contract, vehicle prices increased 30% and CEO pay increased 40% while worker pay increased 6%.

Biden reiterated what he has said since he first weighed in on the negotiations in July: that the industry’s transition to electric vehicles “should be a win-win for auto workers and auto companies,” leading to a vibrant, made-in-America future and good-paying middle-class jobs that can support a family.

As of late Wednesday, Ford had proposed a 20% wage increase. General Motors had offered 18% and Stellantis 17.5%. The UAW is demanding 36%.

The president praised the auto companies for making “significant offers” but urged them to go further to “ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”