Written from press release
Detroit, Michigan – September 16, 2023
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made a call for an end to corporate greed during his address at a United Auto Workers (UAW) rally in Detroit on Friday. Sanders, a long-time advocate for workers’ rights and economic equality, traveled to Detroit to show solidarity with striking UAW members who are demanding fair wages, benefits, and working conditions.
UAW workers began striking Friday.
The UAW rally, which took place on Friday evening, was attended by thousands of UAW members and supporters. The event was live-streamed, allowing a broader audience to tune in to Sanders’ speech.
In his prepared remarks, Sanders expressed gratitude to Shawn Fain, the President of the UAW, and all the UAW members for inviting him to join the rally. He emphasized the importance of the UAW’s fight, describing it as a battle against the excessive corporate greed exhibited by the Big Three automakers.
“The fight that you are waging is a fight against the outrageous level of corporate greed and arrogance that we are seeing on the part of CEOs who think they have a right to have it all, and could care less about the needs of their workers,” Sanders stated.
He underlined that the struggle of the UAW goes beyond the automobile industry, asserting that it is about creating an economy that benefits all Americans rather than just the top one percent.
Sanders provided statistics about the growing income and wealth inequality in the United States, pointing out that despite increased worker productivity and soaring CEO salaries, the average American worker’s real wages have declined over the past five decades.
The Senator also highlighted the financial hardships faced by many Americans, with over 60 percent living paycheck to paycheck, and he emphasized the need for change.
Sanders invoked the historic role of the UAW in American labor history, harkening back to 1937 when the UAW took on the auto industry’s greed and power. He stressed that, in 2023, the UAW is once again at the forefront of the battle to rebuild and strengthen the middle class.
Directly addressing the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, Sanders called on them to recognize the sacrifices made by their workers and to treat them with respect and dignity. He cited the vast disparities between CEO compensation and the wages of the average auto worker.
Sanders also challenged the idea that the UAW’s demands were radical, pointing out that the Big Three automakers have recently reported substantial profits while workers’ wages have stagnated or declined.
He advocated for fair COLAs (cost-of-living adjustments), the end of the two-tier wage system, improved treatment of temporary workers, better pension plans, and the right to strike in response to plant closures.
Sanders concluded by emphasizing the need for unity against corporate greed and for the creation of an economy that benefits everyone, not just a privileged few.
“Let us stand together to end corporate greed. Let us stand together to rebuild the disappearing middle class. Let us create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top one percent. Let us all stand in solidarity with the UAW,” Sanders concluded to a roaring crowd.
The UAW strike continues, with workers and their supporters rallying for economic justice in the automobile industry. Sanders’ presence and passionate words have further galvanized their cause.