President Joe Biden will join the picket line in Wayne County, Michigan, where members of the United Auto Workers union are on strike against three auto giants for a second week.
The President is set to visit the striking workers at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne at 12 PM Tuesday “in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create,” the White House said in announcing his public schedule.
Biden’s visit, described as “historic”, is seen as part of an attempt to ensure the support of the labor union in Michigan, seen as a key presidential election battleground state.
It comes a day before former President Donald Trump’s announced visit to Detroit to address union members, including from the UAW.
Trump criticized Biden, saying that he “had no intention” of visiting the striking workers, and claimed that it was his decision to speak in Michigan that prompted Biden to walk the picket line.
At a Press Briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied Trump’s decision to visit the UAW workers played into Biden’s decision to go there in advance, and clarified that it was based on UAW President Shawn Fain’s invitation last week.
Asked if the President is explicitly taking the side of the union workers as opposed to the companies, the White House spokesperson replied, “He’s always going to stand on the side of workers.”
Despite being known as a pro-working class president, the UAW has not yet endorsed Biden for his reelection bid.
Thousands of UAW members at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis walked out on September 15, marking the beginning of a Stand Up Strike.
Their main demands include pay increases and cost of living adjustments, end of two-tiered wage structure, defined benefit pension plans for all, and four-day workweek and more time off.
The White House didn’t say if Biden supports UAW’s demands. “We are not involved in negotiations. That is something for them to decide what is going to work for the parties that are involved, but he is standing with the autoworkers. That’s what the president is doing,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Meanwhile, UAW President Shawn Fain criticized Ford’s announcement that they are pausing construction on the Marshall EV Battery Plant.
“This is a shameful, barely veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs. Closing 65 plants over the last 20 years wasn’t enough for the Big Three, now they want to threaten us with closing plants that aren’t even open yet. We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom,” he said in a statement.
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