General Motors Co. Chairman Mary Barra and United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble were among a small group of executives and labor leaders who met with President-elect Joe Biden, discussing the need for equity and worker safety as the U.S. economy begins to rebuild amid the economic hardships created by COVID-19 pandemic.
The pool report from reporters following the Biden transition team in Wilmington, Delaware said that the President-elect met virtually with a group of nine union leaders and executives, including the CEOs from GM, Microsoft, Target and The Gap.
The presence of Barra and Gamble suggests the incoming administration plans to keep a close eye on the auto industry.
The President-elect’s plans call for additional assistance for the industry’s transition to electric vehicles with tax credits and support for building a broad network of charging stations as well as expediting the move to renewable energy.
“GM was pleased to participate in this important discussion with President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and others from the business and labor community. We took the opportunity to share our best practices for keeping our workforce safe and factories running during the pandemic,” GM said in statement issued after the meeting.
“We look forward to working with the new administration and incoming Congress on policies that support our customers, dealers and employees, help strengthen our manufacturing presence in the United States and advance our vision of an all-electric, zero-emissions future.”
Gamble said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Biden and Vice President-elect Harris remotely, adding the timing for the discussions was important.
“Our nation and economy are at a crucial point right now given the rise in COVID-19 cases. Today’s discussion among labor and business leaders was a productive and honest discussion of the challenges we all face in manufacturing and business to wrestle control of a very difficult situation for our economy,” Gamble said in a statement issued after the meeting.
“The UAW has had productive ongoing discussions with our Detroit-Three counterparts and other employers about protocols to keep our economy moving and at the same time make tough decisions to protect UAW members and all working Americans.
“But we all expressed today to the incoming administration an acute need for an immediate economic package for those hard-hit by this pandemic, help for our states and our frontline providers and specifically to protect the health and safety of UAW members in the workplace.”
The number of cases of coronavirus have surged across the United States, filling hospitals with patients. The death toll also has climbed, prompting several states to enact new restrictions on social gatherings, restaurants, schools, universities and entertainment.