Talks between the Detroit Three automakers and the United Auto Workers are continuing Sunday with 12,700 workers at three plants still walking picket lines.
UAW President Shawn Fain appeared on MSNBC Sunday morning and "Face the Nation" on CBS after NBC reported that President Joe Biden is sending a team to Detroit early this week to help resolve the strike.
"The good thing that I see in all this is our members are out there manning the picket lines with our allies, and this really to me isn't about the president or the former president ... this is about working-class people standing up," Fain said on MSNBC.
He added "progress is slow" in the talks, but the union and General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV are meeting Sunday.
"I don't really want to say we're closer," he said.
The union is seeking significant wage increases, an end to a tiered wage system and cost-of-living adjustments, among other demands. Specifically, the UAW initially proposed 46% wage increases over the length of the contract (40% when not compounded). A subsequent offer decreased that to 36% not compounded.
On "Face the Nation," Fain said Stellantis' recent 21% wage increase offer is "definitely a no-go and we made that very clear to the companies."
Ahead of the 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 Detroit Three-UAW contracts expiration, Fain called for a targeted strike at three plants: GM's Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, Stellantis' Toledo Assembly in Ohio and Ford's Michigan Assembly in Wayne. Fain could call more workers to walk out at different plants depending on how talks proceed. This is the first time in its history the UAW has called a strike against all three automakers simultaneously.
On Saturday, the UAW said it had "reasonably productive" talks with Ford while Stellantis accused the union of mischaracterizing its offers. The Ram truck and Jeep maker said it offered the UAW nearly 21% compounded wage increase and a pathway to "resolve" Belvidere Assembly Plant, the former Jeep Cherokee factory in north central Illinois that was idled at the end of February, but that the proposal was only on the table until the contract expired at midnight Thursday.
Fain called the move evidence the company sees workers as "a bargaining chip."
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