On Thursday, President Joseph Biden is scheduled to convene a crucial meeting in Belvadiro, Illinois, with Sean Fein, the head of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The primary agenda for this meeting revolves around the imminent threat of closure looming over a car plant operated by the international conglomerate "Stelantis." A White House official, who opted to remain anonymous, confirmed this highly anticipated gathering.
This encounter presents an ideal platform for President Biden and Sean Fein to publicly unveil the preliminary labor agreements that concluded a nearly 45-day union strike targeting major automotive giants such as General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, the manufacturer behind popular American brands like Jeep, Dodge, and "Ram." Pending approval by the 146,000-strong union membership in the forthcoming weeks, these contracts are poised to bring about significant wage hikes for the automotive industry workforce.
Notably, the UAW secured an arrangement with Stelantis that successfully averted the shutdown of the currently idle Belvadiro plant, situated in this small town with 25,000 inhabitants on the northern periphery of Illinois, which had remained inoperative due to the labor strike.
President Biden has prioritized establishing a personal rapport with Sean Fein. He previously invited Fein to a private meeting at the Oval Office in the White House on July 19. Furthermore, he recently extended birthday wishes via phone as Fein celebrated his 55th birthday.
In addition to reviewing and ratifying the labor contracts, UAW members are also expected to declare their support for President Biden ahead of the forthcoming presidential elections in 2024. The UAW, known for its staunch stance against the Democratic president, stands out among labor organizations that have endorsed President Biden.
As per the UAW contract, Stelantis has committed to manufacturing a new gas-powered mid-size pickup in Belvadiro and establishing a battery plant for electric vehicles within the city. This move will result in the reemployment of approximately 1,200 workers at the previously idle factory, with an additional 1,300 job opportunities set to emerge in the battery plant.