Thursday, December 7, 2023

Biden made history as the first US president to join a labor union strike

This Wednesday he will also speak in front of an auto parts manufacturing plant in Clinton Township, Michigan, his campaign team confirmed.

An unprecedented image: of a sitting president of the United States, Joe Biden, with the workers of the automotive sector in a picket in the state of Michigan (north) to express his support and tell they deserve a salary increase. The White House called it a “historic” event.

With a baseball cap and megaphone in hand, the Democrat addressed the workers of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union and acknowledged the “sacrifices” they made to save the industry in 2008. That’s why they deserve “a significant increase.” in salary, he assured.

Biden, who is campaigning for his reelection in 2024, is focusing on the union facing the three giants of the sector, General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis.

Workers waited impatiently for the president in front of the entrance to the Wayne factory, where a dozen strikers were picketing, amid signs calling for “save the American dream” and a bonfire near a tent.

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“This is a very important support, because it believes in what we are fighting for. I am filled with pride,” one of the workers, Patrick Smaller, 56, told AFP.

After stopping at a Ford factory, the president went to the GM facility in Belleville, not far away, where a small group of workers was waiting for him.

“I hope that your visit and your support will help us, it shows the companies that we have the support of the president and that with a little luck they will receive an agreement quickly,” said Kristy Zometsky, 44, where she became . worked for nine years. this factory.

“For him to stand up publicly and say he supports our cause is very important,” added Curtis Cranford, 66, who said he voted Republican “because of immigration and abortion.”

Biden managed to steal the spotlight from his predecessor, Donald Trump, favorite for the Republican presidential nomination and therefore his potential opponent in the election.

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He did so, a day ahead of Trump, who will go to Michigan on Wednesday to try to convince workers to help him win the White House.

The Republican accused the Democrat of stealing his idea for the photo. “Nothing more than a bad photo op,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller summed it up.


Biden wants to show that he is the defender of the working class, the unions and the architect of the rise of American industry.

But at the age of 80, the president, who is often criticized for his physical condition in each of his trips, knows that the conflict in this main industry can cost the economy.

However, he estimated that the employees should benefit from the “record income” of the companies.

“We are not involved in the negotiations” between the union and the companies, said its spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked if the president sided with any of the parties.

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Key status

Union support is a hallmark of his mandate. He owes them a lot. In 2020, the UAW’s support for his candidacy was crucial for the state of Michigan to vote in his favor after voting for Trump in 2016.

The Democrat government is one of the driving forces behind the auto industry’s historic shift toward electric vehicles.

“When he walks slowly to pretend to be on the ‘picket,’ remember he wants to send your jobs to China,” Trump launched on his social network Truth Social, despite the fact that subsidies for of the electric vehicles provided by Biden’s plan only They apply to vehicles made in North America.

Trump needs the votes he won in 2016 from blue-collar workers in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

On Wednesday he will speak in front of an auto parts plant in Clinton Township, Michigan, according to his campaign team, about 60 km from where Biden spoke.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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