US President Joe Biden made history this Tuesday by becoming the first leader of the country to join a picket in defense of better working conditions for workers in the automotive sector. Biden, who assured that the workers deserve a “significant increase in wages,” arrived in the state of Detroit at the invitation of the president of the union of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Shawn Fain.
UAW members, your president stands with you. pic.twitter.com/nD9Bc0NGDi
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 26, 2023
Biden was personally received at the airport by Fain, who took over the leadership of the union at the beginning of the year and who for the first time in history called a joint strike at the Ford, Stellantis and General Motors plants, known as “the big three from Detroit. With a megaphone, cap and casual clothes, Biden addressed the strikers: “You saved the auto industry. You have made many sacrifices. Companies have a problem.
“Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class did it. The unions did it. That’s a fact. Let’s move on. They deserve what they’re getting. The Democratic president. “They need the significant increase that they demanded,” said Biden, who in previous statements emphasized that he hoped the negotiations would reach a successful conclusion.
Fain, for his part, thanked the president for his visit and said: “Today the enemy is not a foreign country thousands of miles away. It is right here in our place. It is corporate greed.” To applause, the union leader added: “Managers believe the future is theirs.
The UAW represents nearly 150,000 workers in the American auto industry. So far three Detroit-based companies have submitted proposals that offer a 20 percent wage increase but maintain the 40-hour work week. The union is demanding a combined 46 percent wage increase over the four-year life of a new agreement, as well as a 32-hour work week with 40-hour pay.