President Joe Biden shared support for auto workers striking against Detroit’s Big Three automakers on Tuesday when he joined a United Auto Workers union picket line in Michigan.
Workers and supporters striking outside General Motor’s Willow Run Redistribution Center in Belleville, Michigan, cheered as the president addressed them through a bullhorn on Tuesday.
“The fact of the matter is that you guys, UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before,” Biden said. “(You) made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot, and the companies were struggling.
“Now, they’re doing incredibly well, and guess what? You should be doing incredibly well too. It’s a simple proposition.”
He encouraged workers to “stick with it.”
“You deserve a significant raise and other benefits,” the president said.
UAW President Shawn Fain noted that Tuesday marked the first time that a sitting president joined workers on a picket line.
“Our president has (chosen) to stand up with workers in our fight for economic and social justice,” he said as people in the crowd shouted their thanks. “It’s a historic day and a historic moment in time.”
Biden joined the picket line one day before former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is set to visit striking workers in Michigan, The Associated Press reported. As of Tuesday afternoon, UAW had yet to make an endorsement in the 2024 presidential race.
Fain said last week that negotiators had made “some real progress at Ford.” He urged GM and Stellantis officials to “come to their senses and come to the table with a serious offer.”
Union officials are negotiating to get employees more pay and better benefits. Automakers have argued that they can’t afford to meet UAW’s demands.