BIden vs. Trump in Michigan
STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden joined the picket line with striking auto workers outside a General Motors plant near Detroit Tuesday and backed their demand for a 40 percent pay increase.
"You guys UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a
lot and the companies were in trouble, but now they're doing incredibly well. And guess what you should be doing incredibly well too."
Flanked by Secret Service agents, Biden exchanged fist bumps and took selfies with the crowd after he spoke.
UAW workers this month began targeted strikes against GM, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis seeking wage increases to match CEO pay jumps, shorter work weeks and job security as the industry moves toward electric vehicles.
Biden’s appearance here comes one day before his leading challenger former President Donald Trump is scheduled to address workers at a nearby auto parts supplier.
Republicans believe Biden's push to electrify America's vehicle fleet, by pumping billions of dollars of tax rebates into EV manufacturing, is unpopular with auto workers.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trump accused Biden of "stabbing" auto workers in the back, claiming Biden's EV mandate will "annihilate" the U.S. auto industry and cost "thousands of autoworkers their jobs."
Biden though was joined on his visit by the head of the United Auto Workers union Shawn Fain.
“And so today I just want to take a moment to stand with all of you with our President. And say thank you to the President. Thank you, Mr. President, for coming.”
The appreciation only goes so far, the UAW has declined to support either 2024 presidential candidate, making it the only major union not to back Biden.
Both candidates are expected to sharpen their 2024 campaign message in Michigan, a state which helped propel Trump to the White House in 2016 and then helped Biden win in 2020. Union voters are seen as key to victory here.
While only about 10% of U.S. workers were union members in 2022, they have outsized political influence because the states where they are strong like Michigan often swing from voting Democratic to Republican, and their grassroots networks are powerful influences on the working-class vote.
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