President Biden will join UAW picket lines on Tuesday in a show of support for striking workers. Biden’s forthcoming visit is set to take place as the UAW’s strike against GM, Ford, and Stellantis progresses into its second week. Biden voiced support for workers at the launch of the UAW strike earlier this month, indicating that record profits for automakers should equate to record contracts for workers.
The Biden administration announced the visit in a post to social media:
Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.
It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 22, 2023
The Biden administration previously announced it would dispatch two White House representatives, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling, to Detroit in order to assist in negotiations. Travel plans for the two White House representatives were later put on hold, and the two representatives were asked to sit in on negotiations virtually instead.
UAW President Shawn Fain has downplayed the role the White House could play in brokering a deal between the UAW and automakers, saying that “the battle is not about the president,” but rather that the “battle is about the workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re fed up with going backwards.”
President Biden has voiced support for the UAW strike, citing “record profits” realized by automakers over the past decade.
“But those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers,” Biden said immediately following the UAW’s initial call to strike.
“No one wants a strike. But I respect workers’ right to use their options under a collective bargaining system,” Biden added.
Former president Trump will also visit Michigan this week, and is scheduled to deliver a speech to union members. Trump will hold the rally in lieu of attending the second Republican presidential primary debate. Trump has publicly criticized union leadership, including UAW President Fain.
The UAW expanded its strike against GM and Stellantis last week, targeting automakers’ distribution centers. The UAW opted not to expand its strike against Ford, citing substantial progress in negotiations with the Blue Oval brand. It’s estimated that roughly 18,300 UAW members are currently on strike, or roughly 12 percent of its membership.