WASHINGTON/TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept 22 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for a United Auto Workers strike against automakers in Detroit, putting him at the center of a dispute that has roiled his labor allies. Against major manufacturers.
Biden, a Democrat, considers himself a pro-union president, and his visit to the state, one day before former President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit, will underscore his support for unionized workers’ right to take action and participate in collective bargaining. .
“On Tuesday, I will be going to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of the UAW as they fight to get a fair share of the value they helped create,” Biden said Friday in a post on X. The social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “It is time to reach a win-win agreement that keeps the American auto industry thriving through good-paying UAW jobs.”
Biden is running for re-election in 2024, and is likely to face Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
A Trump campaign spokesman said Biden’s trip to Michigan was a “cheap photo op.”
“The only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he was going on Wednesday,” the Trump campaign said in a statement late Friday evening.
The UAW on Friday called on Biden to visit workers on picket lines, and said it would expand its strike in Detroit to include parts distribution centers across the U.S. at General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler’s parent company Stellantis (STLAM.MI). The company said it had made real progress in talks with Ford Motor Company (FN).
“It’s very rare for a president to visit strikers,” said Jeremy Sorey, a historian and presidential scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. He added that even pro-labor Democratic President Jimmy Carter never visited the picket line. “This would be a major shift for Biden to link the presidency to striking workers, rather than siding with industry or staying above the fray.”
UAW blocks authentication
Several unions have already endorsed Biden’s re-election, but the UAW has so far refrained from endorsing it. Biden said automakers must “go further to ensure that record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW,” echoing the sentiments of union leaders.
Both the Detroit Three and the UAW have a lot at stake in federal policy decisions. Automakers rely on Washington to obtain billions of dollars in subsidies to produce electric cars. They are negotiating with the Biden administration on future emissions rules that would require a shift to electric vehicles that the industry believes will be too fast and too expensive.
At the same time, the union is concerned that switching to electric vehicles will mean job losses because those vehicles require fewer parts to produce.
Trump plans to travel to Detroit to speak at a rally announced for auto workers as part of his attempt to win back some blue-collar voters who defected to Biden in his 2020 win. Trump has called on rank-and-file union workers to ignore their demands. Leaders.
Fighting the billionaire class
Trump did not say whether he would visit the picket lines. UAW President Sean Fine criticized Trump earlier in the week, saying the union is “fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of working people.”
Suri said the last US president to show such support for striking workers was likely Theodore Roosevelt. In 1902, Roosevelt invited striking coal workers to the White House along with government officials and management, concerned that the country was facing a coal shortage.
Before this devastating meeting, Roosevelt, like Biden, found himself with little leverage to negotiate.
“There is literally nothing…the national government has any authority to do,” Roosevelt complained to U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Retelling the strike On the Ministry of Labor website. “I’m finally figuring out how to move forward.”
Workers on picket lines had mixed feelings about whether Biden should visit. Some said politicians should stay out of the fray, while others said they would welcome support if the strike continued.
“Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Biden steps up and shows some support,” Laura Zelensky, 55, of Toledo, Ohio, said Tuesday, referring to Biden’s visit to the Stellantis Toledo assembly plant in 2010 when he was serving as vice president. .
“Support like this would highlight conversations – giving businesses a boost.”
Thomas Morris, 60, who was on a picket line in suburban Philadelphia, said he appreciated Biden’s support for unions and calls for companies to pass record profits on to workers and consumers. He would like to see Biden join. “It will bring a lot of publicity and help in the fight,” Morris said.
(Reporting by Heather Timmons and Jeff Mason in Washington, Ben Klayman in Toledo, Ohio, and David Gaffen in New York; Edited by Matthew Lewis, Nick Zieminski, Alistair Bell, and Timothy Gardner
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