CENTER LINE, Mich. (FOX 2) - In fiery statements made hours after he pushed the autoworkers union strike across the U.S., Shawn Fain said the losses inflicted on dealerships, suppliers, and consumers was on the Detroit automakers.
"They chose for us to be out here right now," said Shawn Fain. "This wasn't a decision we made. This was the company's decision."
Fain repeated his statement that the automakers had eight weeks to negotiate with the union after receiving the first set of demands from the UAW. "It's a shame we have to have this type of relationship, but again it's on the companies. They have to own this," he said.
The packaging and warehouse facilities in Center Line was the first stop for Fain on Friday after he called on an expanded strike. He doubled-down on plans to strike "as long as it takes" for workers to get demands.
While negotiations have seen progress with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis did not escape the latest call for parts and component plant workers to walk out at 38 different sites.
While they aren't the main product that UAW members build, the ongoing transition to electric vehicles is playing an outsized role in the negotiations. The industry pivot presents an uncertain future for the UAW. Automakers are trying to balance the costs of ramping up its EV production while maintaining working relationships with the union and continuing to build gas-powered cars.
So do the automakers deserve some grace for paying for that transition?
"That may be where part of their profit is, but the sad reality is their leaving our workers behind in this transition to EVs and then on top of that we're funding it," he said. "Our taxpayer dollars are funding this transition to the EV, so they're taking the profits generated by our members' work, they're leaving us out of the equation for the future work, and then on top of that, they're taking our tax dollars.
"It's a lose-lose all around for working class people and again the billionaire class continues to walk away with the loot so people like Elon Musk can build another rocket ship and shoot themselves to the damn moon."