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The White House intervenes in General Motors strike




  United Auto Workers on strike

United Auto Workers union members protest outside General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant on Tuesday in Texas. | Ron Jenkins / Getty Images

The White House is seeking to end the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors with an agreement to reopen an assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which GM laid down in March.

The effort, described to POLITICO by two people close to the case, would effectively put the White House on the UAW side. Some 48,000 GM workers went on strike Monday demanding higher wages, more generous health services and more job security than management has been willing to offer in a new contract. [19659005] The story continues below

If the effort is successful, it could increase the president's re-election chances next year in Michigan and Ohio, where his approval rating has gone down since the two states helped him win in 2016. President Donald Trump has tried to pinch workers with blue collar by promising a production boom, but he has criticized union leaders and has a full relationship with automakers. His Department of Justice recently opened an antitrust probe in four automakers, not GM, which cooperates with California in trying to strengthen clear air rules.

A person close to the case said National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow and White House and production adviser Peter Navarro are both involved in the talks. This person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, warned that discussions are still in early stages and that the White House may not be able to broker an agreement.

In comments to reporters Monday in the White House, President Donald Trump said "Federal mediation is always possible, if that is what they want. Hopefully, they can work out the GM strike quickly. We do not want General Motors to build facilities outside this country. "

The White House did not initially comment on the status of the negotiations, but after POLITICO published this article, it declined.

"This story is false," wrote press secretary Judd Deere in an email. “The Trump administration, including Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, is not involved in the negotiations between UAW and GM. As President Trump has said, we would like to see a fair and quick conclusion to these talks. "

GM also refused to initiate first, and then said in a written statement after POLITICO's story was published that the White House" has no involvement in the negotiations. "

Trump himself has suggested that he was sympathetic to the worker's cause.

" My relationship has been very strong with [UAW] – not necessarily the top person or two, but the people who work make cars, Trump said Monday. "Nobody has ever brought more companies to the United States."

"And great things are happening in Ohio, including with Lordstown," he said. "Very positive things are happening."

A UAW spokeswoman declined to comment on any passing by the White House, saying it was focused on negotiations at the negotiating table. GM initially declined to comment, but later said in a statement that the White House "has no involvement in the negotiations."

The president blew General Motors last year to announce plans last year to cut nearly 14,000 jobs in the North. America, including plant closures in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland. The Lordstown plant lifted special ire from Trump, and has been used by critics to claim that his promise to revive American production was empty.

Trump has been following negotiations between GM and the UAW for some time. In March, he admonished GM and UAW for dragging their heels to renegotiate a contract.

"Why wait, start them now!" Trump tweeted at the time. “I want jobs to live in the United States and want Lordstown (Ohio), in one of the best economies in our history, to open or sell to a company that will open it quickly! Car companies all return to the United States. So is everyone else. "


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