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UAW, automakers remain far apart four days into strike

United Auto Workers strike Monday outside the Stellantis factory, in Toledo, Ohio. Nearly 13,000 workers walked off the job Friday at GM’s midsize truck and commercial van plant in Wentzville, Mo., Stellantis NV’s Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio, and the Ford’s Ranger and Bronco plant in Wayne, Mich., over pay and benefits. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Four days into their strike, the United Auto Workers union and Detroit's Big Three automakers remain far apart Monday as the White House steers clear of negotiations.

"This is our battle ... Our negotiating teams are working hard. Our members are out there manning the picket lines and our allies are out there with us," UAW President Shawn Fain told MSNBC.

"This battle is not about a president, it's not about the former president or any other person prior to that," Fain said after UAW workers at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler's parent company Stellantis went on strike Friday.

While President Joe Biden has expressed strong support for the union, citing the carmakers' huge profits, the White House is not involved in negotiations. Last year, the Biden administration helped broker a railroad agreement to avert a strike.

The UAW was scheduled to meet with Stellantis on Monday, after meeting with Ford and General Motors over the weekend.

A United Auto Worker strikes Monday outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory where the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are built in Toledo, Ohio. Four days into the strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, both sides remain far apart. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
A United Auto Worker strikes Monday outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory where the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are built in Toledo, Ohio. Four days into the strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, both sides remain far apart. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

The UAW already has rejected a 21% wage increase and continues to negotiate for a 40% pay raise to match the pay increases for chief executive officers at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. The workers also want a four-day workweek and better benefits.

"We've put full offers to all three companies before the strike deadline, and we've really had minimal conversations over the weekend," Fain told NPR. "The ball's still in their court, so we're going to keep moving as we have and just see how things progress."

United Auto Workers strike Monday outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory where the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are built in Toledo, Ohio. Union members walked out at three plants, a GM site in Wentzville, Missouri, the Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio, and a Ford assembly in Wayne, Mich., on Friday. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
United Auto Workers strike Monday outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory where the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are built in Toledo, Ohio. Union members walked out at three plants, a GM site in Wentzville, Missouri, the Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio, and a Ford assembly in Wayne, Mich., on Friday. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

"We're not the problem. Corporate greed is the problem!" UAW declared Monday in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, which showed statistics of CEO raises and worker's raises amid rising profits.

Nearly 13,000 workers walked off the job Friday at GM's midsize truck and commercial van plant in Wentzville, Mo., Stellantis NV's Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio, and Ford's Ranger and Bronco plant in Wayne, Mich.

A United Auto Worker strikes outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory in Toledo, Ohio. Four days into the strike against Stellantis, Ford and General Motors, both sides have a "long way to go," UAW President Shawn Fain said. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
A United Auto Worker strikes outside an entrance to the Stellantis factory in Toledo, Ohio. Four days into the strike against Stellantis, Ford and General Motors, both sides have a "long way to go," UAW President Shawn Fain said. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

Both Ford and General Motors have since warned hundreds of employees that their positions may be cut as the strike affects other jobs.

In the meantime, the UAW is threatening to add more plants to the three-site walkout if talks continue to lag.

"So we have a long way to go," Fain said, "and if a company does not respect the demands of our workers, then we will escalate action."