GM strike picket lines got a visit from prominent Democratic presidential candidates over the weekend, with front runners voicing their support for the labor movement as the United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Motors continue to hammer out a new contract.
Former vice president Joe Biden spoke at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, where he said that his father sold GM cars to help get Biden through school. Biden also talked about how plant closures can affect communities.
“When things started to go well, what did they do?” Biden asked while speaking from the back of a pickup. “They raised salaries for the CEO.”
“If we don’t win this, and I say this with all earnestness, if the folks that share my view don’t win this, a lot of unions are in trouble,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren picketed with workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which produces the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6. It’s possible the plant could be closed next year, which is one of the major sticking points in the latest GM strike.
“GM is demonstrating that it has no loyalty to the workers of America, or to the people of America,” Warren told the crowd of workers. “Their only loyalty is to their own bottom line. And if they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, or to Asia, or anywhere else on this planet, they will do it. Well, the workers of the UAW are here to say, ‘No more!'”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also visited the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where she too voiced her support for autoworkers, indicating they should be rewarded for making concessions “when this company was in some bad straits.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders is expected to visit picket lines sometime this week. Sanders, who has a long history of pro-labor stances, has participated in union strikes before, and even includes the song “Union Maid” by Woody Guthrie as part of his pre-rally music selection.
Michigan is seen as particularly important in the 2020 race. In 2016, Donald Trump narrowly won the state over Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, or two-tenths of a percentage point.
Although Republicans have yet to take a firm stance in the latest GM strike, it’s unclear if the Democrats’ message will sway union members. Although the autoworker union has traditionally aligned itself with the Democratic Party, some autoworkers have voiced support for the Trump administration’s efforts to rewrite NAFTA, as well as its trade policy with China.
On the other side of the fence, some UAW members are frustrated with Trump’s inability to stop the trickle of jobs going to Mexico, as well as a perceived anti-worker agenda executed via the Republican National Labor Relations Board appointee.
Source: The Washington Post