WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s been 12 days since autoworkers with the United Auto Workers union have been on strike. They’re asking automakers for pay increases, to end wage tiers and other requests. President Biden joined the picket lines in Michigan.
When the strikes first started, some of our own congressional members joined autoworkers on the picket lines, like Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D- MI) and Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman (D- PA). New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) also took to social media saying she supports UAW members. She also said for them to stay strong and keep up the fight.
On Tuesday in Wayne County, Michigan, President Biden told strikers to stick with it.
“You guys, UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and 2004,” said Biden. “Made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot and the companies were in trouble. Now they’re doing incredibly well and guess what? You should be doing incredibly well too.”
According to online sources, labor historians cannot recall a time when a sitting president has joined an ongoing strike. Presidential historians said presidents usually have to be the moderators in situations like this one, adding that presidents have to balance the rights of workers with disruptions to the economy and the impact on supply chains, which usually keeps them away from participating in strikes.
Biden’s high profile visit to the swing state comes a day before former president Donald Trump’s visit with autoworkers. According to sources, the Trump campaign is defending his record as pro-worker but other union leaders said trump’s record in the White House was far from worker friendly. According to sources, union leaders also cited unfavorable Supreme Court rulings during Trump’s term.