President Biden spoke with United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain on Monday after union leadership reached a deal in recent days with the three major U.S. auto companies to potentially end weeks of strikes at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
Biden, who had appeared with striking autoworkers in Michigan in September, called it a “hard-fought agreement” that was reached after weeks of “good faith” negotiations.
“These record agreements reward autoworkers who gave up much to keep the industry working and going during the financial crisis more than a decade ago,” Biden said, adding that the terms would “ensure the iconic Big Three can still lead the world in quality and innovation.”
The union reached deals in recent days with Ford and Stellantis, and a similar deal was reached with General Motors early Monday. The agreement, which must still be approved by union members, would include a 25 percent general pay increase over the course of a four-year contract, increased retirement benefits and more paid leave.
“I applaud the UAW and the leaders of the automobile companies for agreeing that all the workers on strike and all of those who were walking the picket lines on behalf of their UAW brothers and sisters can go back to work immediately, even before the vote is taken,” Biden said.
The president touted the labor agreement as one piece of broader economic good news in recent days. The U.S. economy grew at a 4.9 percent annual rate during the third quarter of the year, exceeding forecasts. Government data has also shown inflation has been steadily cooling over the past year, even as interest rates remain high.
“We have more to do but we’re finally beginning to build an economy that works for working people, for the middle class, for the entire … country, including the companies,” Biden said.