GM and the UAW meet with Biden and Harris on COVID-19 and economic system
General Motors and the UAW met with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday to talk about the economy and the rise of COVID-19 cases sweeping the nation.
The UAW told the incoming administration that there is a need for an immediate economic package to help people hard hit by the pandemic.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at A.I. du Pont High School in Greenville on Aug. 12, 2020. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press)
The Biden Administration nuTransition Committee called the meeting last night, said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg. The virtual meeting was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. with Biden and Harris together in Wilmington, Delaware, a GM spokesperson said.
UAW President Rory Gamble characterized it as an “important” meeting.
“Our nation and economy are at a crucial point right now given the rise in COVID-19 cases,” Gamble said in a statement. “Today’s discussion among labor and business leaders was a productive and honest discussion of the challenges we all face in manufacturing and business to wrestle control of a very difficult situation for our economy.”
Rory Gamble, acting president of the UAW International Union. (Photo: UAW)
The UAW has had productive ongoing discussions with the Detroit Three automakers about the plant protocols to keep the economy moving while making “tough decisions to protect UAW members and all working Americans.”
“But we all expressed today to the incoming administration an acute need for an immediate economic package for those hard hit by this pandemic, help for our states and our frontline providers and specifically to protect the health and safety of UAW members in the workplace,” Gamble said.
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The UAW and leaders pressed Biden for more testing, personal protective equipment and a plan for distribution of a vaccine when one is available, Gamble said. He said workers, management and government must work together to get through this pandemic and save lives.
Gamble said he outlined for Biden and Harris the extent to which UAW members are working to follow protocols both inside and outside of the workplace, but said, “together we all need to be ready for the difficult yet lifesaving decisions that lay ahead.”
A spokesperson for Ford Motor Co. said it was not asked to join the meeting. A list of participants released by the Biden team did not list Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles on it either.
GM put out a statement that read, “General Motors was pleased to participate in this important discussion with President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and others from the business and labor community.”
Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company, speaks at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)
The automaker said CEO Mary Barra shared GM’s best practices for keeping the workforce safe and factories running during the pandemic.
“We look forward to working with the new administration and incoming Congress on policies that support our customers, dealers and employees, help strengthen our manufacturing presence in the United States and advance our vision of an all-electric, zero-emissions future,” GM’s statement read.
Here is the list of participants on the call:
- Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO
- Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
- Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU
- Satya Nadella, president and CEO of Microsoft
- Rory Gamble, president of UAW
- Brian Cornell, CEO and chairman of the board at Target
- Marc Perrone, president of UFCW
- Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME
- Sonia Syngal, CEO of Gap
Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General Motors and sign up for our autos newsletter. Become a subscriber.
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