Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said President Biden should not intervene in negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and automakers amid an ongoing strike.
“First of all, I do not believe that the president should intervene or be at the negotiating table. I’ve said that from the beginning,” Dingell said in an interview Sunday with “Face The Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan.
Dingell’s comments follow reports that Biden sent top aides, acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior aide Gene Sperling, to Detroit Friday to help resolve matters between UAW and three major automakers: General Motors, Ford and Stellantis.
The Michigan representative said she talks with Sperling, who oversaw the rollout of the Biden administration’s economic stimulus package the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, frequently and doesn’t believe the administration is involved in negotiations.
“I talk to Gene Sperling multiple times a day and have all summer … I don’t think they’ve got a role at the negotiating table,” Dingell said.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) listens to a discussion at the Library of Congress in Washington April 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
While Dingell said she believes the president shouldn’t have a seat at the table, she did emphasize the important role she believes policymakers have in knowing what the issues between workers and companies are.
“I think every one of us that are policymakers and other stakeholders need to understand what these issues are, what we can do to support those discussions at the table, and what we need to do coming out of these to help make a strong, viable, competitive industry that’s employing American jobs.”
Hours after the strike began Friday, Biden said “record-high profits” have not been shared equally and that while “nobody wants a strike” and that the automakers have made some “significant offers,” they need to go further.
The president hailed autoworkers’ contributions to the economy, declaring they deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“Over generations, autoworkers sacrificed so much to keep the industry alive and strong, especially through economic crises and the pandemics. Workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create for an enterprise,” Biden said.
Dingell’s comments also come as union stakeholders are concerned about Biden’s electric vehicles (EV) policy. UAW President Shawn Fain declined to endorse Biden for reelection over the policy, and union workers say they are concerned the shift toward EVs could affect their jobs and pay.
Former UAW President Bob King said Biden needs to “take action” and “start delivering” and supports Fain’s decision.
The strike continued into its third day Sunday after Fain said UAW rejected a 21-percent wage increase, saying it didn’t meet their demands.