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Biden will show his ‘vocal support’ for autoworkers Tuesday on a Michigan UAW picket line


Biden will show his ‘vocal support’ for autoworkers Tuesday on a Michigan UAW picket line

Sep 26, 2023 | 9:45 am ET
By Susan J. Demas
Biden will show his ‘vocal support’ for autoworkers Tuesday on a Michigan UAW picket line
President Joe Biden speaks about electric vehicle manufacturing during a stop at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sept. 14, 2022. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

As President Joe Biden is scheduled to arrive in Michigan Tuesday, the White House says the Democrat will demonstrate his “vocal support” for autoworkers by joining UAW members on the picket line in Wayne County.

“Over the past decade, auto companies have seen record profits, including over the last few years because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifice of the UAW workers,” Biden said from the White House on Sept. 15, the day that the UAW strike began. “Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers.”

Biden was invited to the picket line by UAW President Shawn Fain. The union has not endorsed for president in 2024.

For the first time in history, the UAW declared a strike against all three U.S. automakers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The union on Friday expanded the strike from three auto plants to include 38 GM and Stellantis auto suppliers across the country, excluding Ford suppliers due to progress in talks. There are 21 states with plants on strike, with Michigan leading the pack with 14 locations.

Here are the Michigan locations:

Ford General Assembly Plant, Wayne

Stellantis auto suppliers:

Marysville, Marysville

Centerline Packaging, Center Line

Centerline Warehouse, Center Line

Sherwood, Warren

Warren Parts, Warren

QEC, Auburn Hills

Romulus, Romulus

GM auto suppliers:

Pontiac Redistribution, Pontiac

Willow Run redistribution, Belleville

Ypsilanti Processing Center, Ypsilanti

Davidson Road Processing Center, Burton

Flint Processing Center, Swartz Creek

Lansing Redistribution, Lansing

The White House stressed that Biden’s visit will mark the first time a sitting president has visited a picket line in modern times. While running for president, Biden joined multiple picket lines, including a UAW picket in Kansas City in 2019.

Biden’s visit was announced after former President Donald Trump said he would skip the second 2024 GOP presidential debate Wednesday and instead head to Michigan to visit with autoworkers.

However, as the Advance reported, Trump will not be going to a Michigan picket line. Instead, the Republican is slated to speak to a non-unionized plant, Drake Enterprises, an automotive parts manufacturer and supplier in Clinton Township in Macomb County.

Michigan is expected to be a key battleground state next year. Trump won Michigan in 2016, Biden was victorious in 2020 and Democrats scored statewide victories in 2022.

Prior to the visit, the White House highlighted Biden’s record on the auto industry and supporting unions, noting that 235,000 auto jobs have been added on his watch and the administration has taken many pro-union actions:

  • Ensured the majority of the investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act are covered by Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, preventing low-quality contractors from undercutting wages for millions of construction workers.
  • Appointed a General Counsel and Board Members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) committed to protecting the right of workers to organize.
  • Issued an Executive Order on Worker Organizing and Empowerment that declared it’s the policy of the Biden-Harris Administration to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining.
  • Signed the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act, to ensure that struggling multiemployer pension plans will be able to fulfill their benefit obligations to retired workers through 2051.
  • Raised the minimum wage for employees of Federal contractors to $15 an hour.