Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union stand on the picket line outside the Ford Motor Company’s Michigan Assembly Plant on Friday, September 15, 2023, in Wayne, Michigan, USA.

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The Biden administration will no longer send two key officials to Detroit this week to help broker a deal between striking auto workers and the three major auto companies, a White House official told NBC News.

President Joe Biden said last week he would dispatch White House senior adviser Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to support discussions between the companies and the United Auto Workers union.

But the official said Tuesday that the White House and the UAW union agreed that it would be best to speak virtually via Zoom.

The official said Sperling and Sue could still travel to Detroit next week, but there are no firm plans yet.

“We will continue to evaluate the timing of travel based on the active status of negotiations,” the White House official said.

Biden largely supported striking autoworkers in his speech on Friday.presidential appeal Ford, General Motors and star Share record profits with workers.

Still, Biden has received a relatively cold reception from the United Auto Workers union.

Shawn Fain, the union’s president, told MSNBC on Monday that he doesn’t think the White House will play a significant role in resolving the dispute.

“This fight has nothing to do with the president,” Fein said. “This is not about the former president or anyone else who came before. This fight is about workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they are tired of going backwards.”

Nearly 13,000 UAW members are on strike at three major plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. This is the first time the union has targeted all three automakers simultaneously.

Fein said late Monday that the UAW would launch additional strikes at more Ford, General Motors and Stellantis plants if talks failed to make “significant progress” by noon on Friday.

“Auto workers have waited long enough for the Big Three to get things done. We’re not going to wait, and we’re not going to mess around. So, Friday, September 22 at noon, is a new deadline,” Fein said in a statement. said in a statement. Video released by the union.

Biden has often touted his middle-class roots and has sought to tie himself closely to the labor movement. But the strike could test the president’s commitment to organized labor if the shutdown expands and threatens broader economic dislocation as he seeks re-election.

Former President Donald Trump has called on the United Auto Workers to support his bid for re-election in 2024 while attacking the union’s leadership.

Trump plans to skip next week’s Republican primary debate and travel to Detroit to speak with union members.

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