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Senator Bernie Sanders addressed striking United Auto Workers (UAW) workers in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, and called on automakers’ CEOs to “get over their greed.”
The far-left senator’s comments came Friday afternoon, the first day of the union’s “stand up” strike against General Motors, Stellantis and Ford.
“The fight you’re fighting here is not just about good wages, good benefits and good working conditions in the automobile industry,” Sanders said. “No. The fight you are fighting is a fight against the outrageous levels of corporate greed and arrogance that we are seeing on the part of CEOs who think they are entitled to have it all and can [not] Care less about the needs of their employees.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, speaks during a UAW rally in Detroit, Michigan, US, on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Emily Elkonin/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Sanders continued to attack General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares and Ford CEO Jim Farley, saying they are, “acting like bandits.”
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“We refuse to live in an oligarchy,” Sanders said. “We refuse to accept a society in which the few have much and the many have very little.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and UAW President Sean Fain (left) speak at a rally in support of members of the United Auto Workers as they strike at the Big Three automakers in Detroit, Michigan on September 15, 2023. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/Getty Images)
Sanders ended his speech with comments calling on the leadership of automakers to negotiate a “fair” contract.
He said, “I would like to say a word to the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. CEOs, understand what a huge financial sacrifice your employees have made over the last few years.”
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“Now is the time for you to put an end to your greed,” Sanders added. “Now is the time to treat your employees with the respect and dignity they deserve. Now is the time to sit down and negotiate a fair contract.”
In the first coordinated action to demand wage increases, workers at the “Big Three” US auto manufacturers went on strike on September 15, 2023, testing the resilience of the US economy and bolstering President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election. Put in danger. (Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)
The main issue of dispute between the two parties have higher salaryFenn said the union is seeking a more than 40% general pay increase for rank-and-file members over four years.
Full-time assembly plant workers at Ford and GM earn $32.32 an hour, while part-time workers currently make about $17 an hour. Stellantis’ full-time employees earn $31.77 an hour, and part-time employees earn approximately $16 an hour.
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The union has also been insisting on making all temporary employees Automakers are making permanent, cost-of-living adjustments, increasing pension benefits for current retirees and restoring pensions for new employees, among other benefits.
Workers began a strike at a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri, after no agreement was reached Thursday night; a Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan. UAW President Shawn Fenn said that plants that had not called for a strike would work without a contract.
Fox Business’ Megan Haney contributed to this report.