WASHINGTON/TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept 22 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for a strike by the United Auto Workers against Detroit automakers. Against the big manufacturers.
Biden, a Democrat, considers himself a pro-union president, and his visit to the state, a day before former President Donald Trump is due there, will underscore his support for the right of unionized workers to take action and bargain collectively. .
“On Tuesday, I’ll be going to Michigan to picket and stand in solidarity with the men and women of the UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they’ve helped create,” Biden said in a post on X on Friday. The social media platform was formerly known as Twitter. “It’s time for a win-win deal that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with good-paying UAW jobs.”
Biden is running for re-election in 2024 and will face Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign called Biden’s trip to Michigan “a cheap shot.”
“The only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he would go on Wednesday,” the Trump campaign said in a statement late Friday.
The UAW invited Biden on Friday to visit workers on its picket line and said it would expand the Detroit strike to parts distribution centers across the U.S. at General Motors ( GM.N ) and Chrysler parent Stellandis ( STLAM.MI ). The company said it has made real progress in talks with Ford Motor ( FN ).
Jeremy Suri, a historian and presidential scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, said: “It’s very rare for a president to meet with strikers. Not even pro-labor Democratic President Jimmy Carter ever went on a picket line. “This is an opportunity for Biden to identify the presidency with striking workers instead of siding with industry. It’s going to be a big, big change.”
The UAW did not seek approval
Several unions have already endorsed Biden for re-election, but the UAW has now withheld its endorsement. Echoing the sentiments of union leaders, Biden said automakers “must go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”
Both the Detroit Three and the UAW have a lot at stake from federal policy decisions. Automakers are counting on Washington for billions in subsidies for electric-vehicle production. They are negotiating with the Biden administration about future emissions rules, which the industry hopes should be changed for EVs.
Meanwhile, the union worries that the shift to EVs could mean job losses because these vehicles require fewer parts to produce.
Trump plans to travel to Detroit to speak at a publicized rally for auto workers as he tries to win back some blue-collar voters who defected to Biden in 2020. Leaders.
Billionaire class fight
Trump did not say whether he would visit the picketed areas. United Auto Workers President Sean Fine blasted Trump earlier in the week, saying the union was “fighting the billionaire class and fighting the economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.”
Suri said Theodore Roosevelt was probably the last US president to show such support for striking workers. In 1902, Roosevelt invited striking coal workers to the White House along with government officials and administration as the nation faced a coal shortage.
Ahead of the precedent-shattering meeting, Roosevelt, like Biden, found himself with little bargaining leverage.
Roosevelt complained to US Senator Henry Cabot Lodge that “there really is nothing … the national government has any power.” Review of strike On the Department of Labor website. “I’m at a loss as to how to proceed.”
The picketing workers had mixed feelings about whether to visit Biden. Some said politicians should stay out of the strike, while others said they would welcome support if the strike continues.
“Me personally, I wouldn’t mind if Biden came out and showed some support,” Laura Zielinski, 55, of Toledo, Ohio, said Tuesday, referring to Biden’s visit to the Stellandis Toledo Assembly Plant in 2010 when she was vice president. .
“Support like that will put a spotlight on the negotiations — give companies a kind of incentive.”
Thomas Morris, 60, who was picketing in suburban Philadelphia, said he applauded Biden’s support for unions and that corporations should deliver record profits to workers and consumers. He would love to see Biden join. “It will bring a lot of publicity and help the fight,” Morris said.
Reporting by Heather Timmons and Jeff Mason in Washington, Ben Clayman in Toledo, Ohio, and David Kaffen in New York; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh and Jared Renshaw in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Nick Zieminski and Alistair Bell and Timothy Gardner
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