'Fight of a generation': UAW president talks upcoming Big 3 negotiations

The United Auto Workers' contract with the Big Three is set to expire in September. The newly-elected president of the UAW is already gearing up for what he says will be the fight of a generation. He took to Facebook Live on Wednesday to lay out what is at stake.

President Shawn Fain gave a pledge to those watching on the UAW International Facebook page Wednesday evening. When it comes to a new contract, he wants to be on the offensive.

"For far too long our approach has been to aim low and settle low. Those days are over now," Fain said.

He argues the automakers have plenty of wealth to go around.

"Companies like GM, Ford, and Stellantis have made a killing," Fain said. "If there's one piece of data from all of this I want you to know is this: The Big Three have made almost a quarter of a trillion dollars in profits in North America over the past 10 years.

The kind of money that is hard to even wrap your head around.

"With that much money, the Big Three could have bought every NBA team, every Major League Baseball team, and every National Hockey League team," Fain said. "And they still would have about $50 billion left over. Yet despite making oceans of money, our autoworkers still have an eight-year progression to top pay, many still don't have retiree health care or pensions, and everyone is getting battered by inflation thanks to not having cost of living back in our contracts."

All are issues he says will be sticking points come September when the UAW sits across the table from the automakers to hammer out a deal.

But Fain says there are other issues that need to be ironed out and next week he is open to hearing from the membership.

"We are going to be holding a national town hall one week from today, to talk in greater detail about the state of the Big Three companies, and our expectations as we go into bargaining," he said.

A first-ever town hall meeting held on Zoom and open to current and retired United Auto Workers.

"This round of contract negotiations is going to be the defining fight of our generation," Fain said. "We are going to win if we are united and ready to act."

Some of the topics raised that weren't mentioned during his Facebook Live will likely revolve around the strong push towards electric vehicles and the role artificial intelligence may - or may not play, going forward.