President Joe Biden to Join United Auto Workers on Picket Line in Michigan
President Joe Biden has announced that he will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to walk the picket line with members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. This trip comes after Biden faced political pressure to show his public support for the union members.
In a post on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Biden stated, “Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create. It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
Biden’s trip highlights the political opportunity as the strike against the nation’s three largest automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis – enters its second week. It also comes just one day before former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner in the GOP presidential race, is scheduled to deliver a primetime speech to an audience of current and former union members, including UAW members, in Detroit.
Trump’s campaign criticized Biden’s visit as a “cheap photo op,” with Trump adviser Jason Miller claiming that Biden is only going to Michigan because Trump had announced his own trip.
While Biden has touted himself as the most pro-labor president, the UAW has not yet offered an endorsement of his reelection bid due to his low polling numbers on economic issues. Union members, who were once a reliable Democratic voting bloc, have gradually shifted towards Republican candidates, according to CNN polls and the AFL-CIO. However, UAW President Shawn Fain publicly denounced Trump’s upcoming trip earlier this week.
The historic nature of Biden’s visit to a picket line as president is notable. Presidential historian and University of Texas professor Jeremi Suri stated that he doesn’t believe any president has ever visited a picket line during a strike.
Presidents, including Biden, have typically refrained from getting involved in union disputes to avoid taking sides. The National Labor Relations Board, an independent entity whose members are appointed by the president, currently has nearly 30 cases pending that were filed by the UAW.
Earlier this year, Fain criticized Biden for his administration’s support of the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles, which the UAW sees as a threat to its members’ jobs. However, after meeting with Biden at the White House in July, Fain has been less critical of the president in public comments.
Some Democratic politicians, like California Rep. Ro Khanna, have called on Biden and other Democrats to join him on the picket line to demonstrate that the party is the “party of the working class.”
Biden’s Tuesday trip to Michigan was first reported by The Washington Post.
This headline and story have been updated with additional reporting.