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UAW President Shawn Fain named on Time's list of 100 most influential people of 2024

UAW President Shawn Fain discusses the union's wins at Detroit's Big Three automakers
UAW President Shawn Fain discusses the union's wins at Detroit's Big Three automakers 01:36

(CBS DETROIT) - After leading the United Auto Workers on its historic strike against the Detroit Three automakers, Shawn Fain has been named on Time's list of the most influential people of 2024. 

Time had President Joe Biden help explain why he was chosen

Biden started by referencing how he joined Fain on the picket line in Van Buren Township as the union entered its 12th day of striking against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. 

"Last September in Michigan, UAW president Shawn Fain told his fellow striking workers, 'In this union, the members are the highest authority. In this country, the people are the highest authority.' I know because I was there when he said it, as the first American President to walk a picket line," said Biden. 

Biden discussed the historic strike and its impact.

"Shawn and I share a basic view of how workers deserve to be treated," Biden wrote. "Just as they sacrificed when their employers were on the brink, they deserve record contracts when those companies have record profits. It's only fair. The historic wage increases the UAW won under Shawn's leadership carry forward the powerful legacy of labor leader and fellow UAW president Walter Reuther, and have led virtually every auto-maker across the country to follow suit. They remind us that when unions win, all workers benefit."

The union started its historic strike, in which it targeted all three Detroit automakers simultaneously for the first time, when their contracts expired on Sept. 14. Automakers and the union could not reach agreements in various areas, including increased wages, annual cost-of-living adjustments, and more benefits. 

The six-week strike ended on Oct. 30, 2023, after the union reached an agreement with General Motors, the last of the three automakers left to reach a deal with the UAW. 

Biden also pointed out how Fain represents the "hard-won success" that unions, not just the UAW, had last year. 

"Shawn represents the hard-won success that unions—from the Teamsters, to the SEIU, to writers and actors, dockworkers and health care workers, baristas, warehouse workers, and more—had in making 2023 the year of the union," Biden said in the Time story. "They proved what I've always said: Wall Street didn't build America. The middle class built America. And unions built the middle class."  

The announcement of Fain being included on the list comes as Republican governors are criticizing the efforts of the UAW. The criticism came a day before 4,300 Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., began voting on whether to join the union.

The governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas released a joint statement in which they said, "We do not need to pay a third party to tell us who can pick up a box or flip a switch." 

Fain is included in the Innovators section of Time's list. 

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