Biden will meet with the head of the Illinois Auto Workers Union on Thursday


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will meet Thursday in Belvidere, Illinois, with the head of the United Auto Workers union, and the two leaders are expected to highlight plans to reopen an auto plant that Stellantis wanted to close.

The White House announced in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that during the visit, Biden will deliver statements and meet with members of the UAW and union president Sean Fine.

The event will serve as an opportunity for the president and Fine to present the tentative contract agreements that ended a union strike that lasted about 45 days and targeted General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, maker of Jeep, Dodge and Ram.

The White House said Biden “will highlight his commitment to providing support for working families and creating good-paying union jobs, as well as the historic UAW agreement that includes bringing thousands of UAW jobs back to Belvidere and reopening a plant.”

The contracts, if approved by 146,000 union members in the coming weeks, would raise auto workers’ wages significantly. In the deal with Stellantis, the Federation was able to save Idle factory In Belvedere, a small city of 25,000 located on the northern tip of the state.

Biden has made it his mission to develop a Personal relationships With Fine, invited him to a private meeting in the Oval Office on July 19 and called him last week to wish him a happy 55th birthday. The UAW has not yet endorsed Biden because members have not yet fully approved contracts, making the union one of the main holdouts as other labor organizations have backed the Democratic president.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will also attend Thursday’s meeting, the White House said.

Under the agreement with the UAW, Stellantis agreed to build a new gas-powered midsize pickup truck in Belvidere, as well as open a new electric vehicle battery plant in the city. About 1,200 workers will be returned to the mothballed plant and another 1,300 will be added to the battery plant.

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