Joe Biden became the first sitting President to join the picket line when he paid a visit to striking Union Auto Workers (UAW) on Tuesday, September in Michigan. “You’ve earned a hell of a lot more than you’re getting paid now,” Biden said.
The President Sides With the Union
The union is demanding a 40% increase in wages over 4 years. According to a transcript released by the White House, Biden agreed. “Yes, I think they should be able to bargain for that.”
Union President Speaks
Appearing alongside Biden, Shawn Fain, the president of the U.A.W., described the moment as historic.
Fain went on to say, “Our President chose to stand up with workers in our fight for economic and social justice.”
UAW President Meets Biden at Tarmac
Fain met Biden on the tarmac, greeting the president with a black U.A.W. baseball cap, which Biden wore outside the General Motors’ Willow Run Redistribution Center in Belleville, Michigan.
“We know the President will do right by the working class!” Fain declared.
Trump Skips GOP Debate to Speak at Non-Union Shop
Meanwhile, Biden’s expected rival in the 2024 election, former President Donald Trump spoke at a non-union auto supplier.
Trump skipped the 2nd G.O.P. Presidential debate to make the speech.
Trump Argues Against Electric Cars
Trump argued that the Biden administration, by providing large subsidies to buyers of electric vehicles, is dismantling the job prospects of striking workers, who work in plants that make gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.
Trump Demands Union Endorsement
“It doesn‘t matter what the hell you’re getting an hour,” Trump said. “Just get your union guys, your leaders, to endorse me and I’ll take care of the rest.”
Trump Threatens UAW
For Trump, the stakes of the endorsement are high. “They have to endorse Trump,” the former President said, “because if they don’t, all they’re doing is committing suicide.
Detroit Free Press Struggles to Find UAW Workers at Trump’s Event
The Detroit Free Press struggled to find actual members of the UAW at Trump’s event.
One woman holding a “union members for Trump” sign wasn’t actually a Union member.
A second person with a sign said he, too, wasn’t an auto worker.
A Crucial Demographic
Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois, stressed the importance of these competing visits to Michigan.
Bruno argued that both candidates are saying “they can’t win without this broad, somewhat amorphous working class.”
Trump and Biden Need Michigan
Michigan, along with Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, makes up a group of Rust Belt states that Trump lost in 2020 but won in 2016.
All three states will play an important role in the 2024 election.
UAW President Says “No” to Trump
UAW President Fain said that workers should reject former President Trump’s attempts to win them over. “I see no point in meeting with him because I don’t think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for,” Fain told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. “He serves the billionaire class and that’s what’s wrong with this country.”
UAW President Doesn’t Endorse Biden
When Blitzer pressed on whether Fain was endorsing Biden, Fain responded, “It’s not an endorsement for anyone. It’s just flat-out how I view the former president.”
Fetterman Walks With Picketers
Democratic Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman also joined the strikers on Saturday. “Put simply, union workers built this country, and they work every day to keep it running,” Fetterman wrote in an op-ed that appeared on MSNBC.
UAW Expands Strike
Since Wednesday, the UAW expanded the strike to two additional locations: GM’s Lansing factory and Chicago’s Ford Factory.
Stellantix Escapes Strike Expansion
Stellantis, the makers of Jeep and Ram vehicles, avoided a strike expansion by making a substantial offer to the UAW.
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