Labor disputes are often complicated matters that bring years of grievances from both employers and their employees to the fore.
Coincidentally, the latest negotiations between auto workers and the Detroit Big 3 — Ford (F) -), General Motors (GM) -) and Stellantis (STLA) -) — is happening just as the major presidential candidates gear up from another election season.
Earlier this week, both President Joe Biden and Donald Trump went to the front lines in Michigan to speak with auto workers.
Biden on Sept. 26 joined striking United Auto Workers union members picketing outside of a Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Mich.
Meanwhile, former President Trump — who is currently the Republican frontrunner — spoke to workers at a non-union auto supplier in the Detroit suburbs on Wednesday, skipping the Republican presidential candidate debate in the process.
One of Biden's biggest hurdles to keep his place in the White House is the economy as inflation has been stubborn despite unprecedented intervention from the Federal Reserve.
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Barry Sternlicht, CEO of investment fund Starwood Capital, sees Biden's support of the UAW as counterproductive to his fight against inflation.
"The UAW is on strike, they're asking for 40% wage increases. What's wrong with the Biden administration, why is he so unpopular? It's inflation. It's the economy. People have less in their pockets," Sternlicht told CNBC Friday.
"But now he is backing unions who are forcing wages up, which is creating the inflation that he has to kill."
The union workers want a historic increase in wages that they say coincides with the historic rise in profits the Big 3 automakers have seen since they last renegotiated labor terms. Meanwhile the auto companies believe that wages that are "too high" will make them less competitive with car companies that use non-union labor, like Tesla (TSLA) -).
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