On the twelfth day of strikes, President Biden plans to stand with striking United Auto Workers members on the picket lines in Wayne County, Michigan, a day before a scheduled visit to the state by former President Trump.
Reuters said Biden will join UAW members in Wayne County around 1200 ET on Tuesday. Sources said UAW boss Shawn Fain is also expected to join the most pro-union president in history.
On Monday, Biden said, “I think the UAW gave up an incredible amount back when the automobile industry was going under [GFC]. They gave everything from their pensions on, and they saved the automobile industry.”
“Now that the industry is roaring back they should participate in the benefits,” the president added.
Remember, Biden was VP when former President Obama bailed out the auto industry over a decade ago.
Erik Loomis, a University of Rhode Island professor and an expert on labor history, told AP News that Biden standing at the picket lines is “absolutely unprecedented. No president has ever walked a picket line before.”
Loomis said presidents historically “avoided direct participation in strikes. They saw themselves more as mediators. They did not see it as their place to directly intervene in a strike or in labor action.”
I’m out at the Ford Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI awaiting Biden’s appearance to join UAW strikers. pic.twitter.com/NEfLAT9rri
— Tessa (@OsborneTessa) September 26, 2023
Coming up live from Michigan UAW Local 900 as autoworkers continue their strike and are joined today and tomorrow by special guests, President Biden today and former President Trump tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/aDphG29Ywt
— Kellie Meyer (@KellieMeyerNews) September 26, 2023
The ongoing strike has yet to reach a resolution for a new labor agreement between the union and Detroit’s Big Three: Ford, GM, and Stellantis. UAW is demanding approximately a 40% wage increase over a new four-year contract along with a 32-hour work week, while the automakers are proposing around 20%.
The latest data from The New York Times shows about 12% of the 150,000-member union is on strike, equivalent to about 18,300 workers. Strikes are nationwide.
And on Wednesday, Trump is expected to address hundreds of workers at a non-union auto supplier in a Detroit suburb.
Meanwhile, there are strikes at Tesla – the most American-made automobile.
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