President Joe Biden will join striking auto workers at the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday — a day before Donald Trump stops in Detroit to do the same.
“On Tuesday, I will head to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for their fair share of the value they helped create. It’s time for a win-win deal that ensures American auto manufacturing thrives with good-paying UAW jobs,” Biden announced on social media.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) expanded their strike Friday afternoon, union president Shawn Fain said, putting more workers on the picket line.
He also invited Biden to join them. The president heavily courted union voters in the last presidential election and constantly brags about his ties to unions.
“We invite and encourage everyone who supports our cause to join us on the picket line, from our friends and families to the President of the United States. We invite you to join us in the fight,” Fain said.
President Joe Biden will visit striking auto workers in Michigan on Tuesday
Biden will take him up on his offer and visit on Tuesday. The president will travel to California that day for a campaign reception in San Francisco. He can easily stop in Michigan along the way.
He has called himself “the most union president in American history.”
“The President will join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of the UAW as they fight for their fair share of the value they helped create,” the White House said in announcing the trip.
Trump will be in Detroit on Wednesday evening for a prime-time address to auto workers. The former president opted to do that rather than attend the second Republican primary debate.
It is unclear whether he will visit the picket line. Fain has sharply criticized Trump.
“Every fiber of our union is being used to fight the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” UAW Fain told CNN. “We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires who have no idea what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet, and expect them to solve the problems of the working class.”
But the former president is concerned about the union’s support. The UAW is one of the few major unions that has not endorsed Biden.
Michigan is an important state in the presidential elections. Trump won it in 2016, but lost it to Biden in 2020.
Trump has said Biden’s push for electric cars is a threat to auto workers.
“The auto workers are sold out on their leadership, and their leadership should support Trump,” the former president told NBC News in an interview that aired Sunday.
The Trump campaign ruined Biden’s trip.
“Biden’s trip to Michigan is nothing more than a cheap shot as he finds himself between a rock and a political hard place,” Trump adviser Jason Miller wrote on X.
“The only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he is going on Wednesday.”
Auto workers represented by the UAW went on strike at a small number of plants last week after the union failed to reach an agreement with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis.
On Friday, the UAW expanded that strike to 38 General Motors and Stellantis plants in 20 states. That about 13% of the union’s 146,000 members are now in the picket lines.
The union spared Ford additional strikes because the company has shown that it is willing to reach an agreement, Fain said.
The Biden administration has announced it will send Biden’s top aide Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit to help with negotiations. But that visit was postponed when union leaders suggested they join the picket line or not come.
The union is asking for higher wages and working conditions, but the automakers say they cannot meet those demands because they must invest the profits in a costly transition from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.
United Auto Workers expanded their strike to 38 factories in 20 states
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain (center) visits striking workers
Donald Trump will be in Detroit on Wednesday to speak to auto workers
President Biden has given a major boost to the transition to electricity. The president has set an ambitious U.S. goal to achieve a carbon-free energy sector by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
His Inflation Reduction Act provided $370 billion for a clean energy and climate package that includes incentives for Americans to buy electric vehicles.
The union is demanding a pay increase of 36% over four years. Currently, a well-paid factory worker is paid about $32 per hour.
Last week, Biden called on automakers to share their profits with workers.
‘I think they should go further. … The record corporate profits they have should be shared by recording contracts for the UAW,” Biden said.
‘Let’s be clear: no one wants a strike. Nobody wants a strike. “But I respect the rights of workers to exercise their options under the collective bargaining system and I understand workers’ frustration,” he added.