Biden to visit Michigan to support auto strike, a day before Trump

September 23, 2023 5:30 pm

[Source: Reuters]

U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for the United Auto Workers’ strike against Detroit automakers, putting him in the center of the dispute that has pitted his labor allies against major manufacturers.

Biden, a Democrat, sees himself as a pro-union president and his visit to the state, a day before former President Donald Trump is scheduled to be there, will underscore his support for union workers’ right to take action and engage in collective bargaining.

“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,” Biden said on Friday in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”

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Biden is running for re-election in 2024 and will likely face Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign said Biden’s trip to Michigan was “a cheap photo op.”

“The only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he is going on Wednesday,” the Trump campaign said in a statement late on Friday.

The UAW on Friday invited Biden to visit workers on its picket lines, and said that it would expand its Detroit strike to parts distribution centers across the United States at General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI). The company said it has made real progress in talks with Ford Motor (F.N).

“It’s very rare for a president to visit strikers,” said Jeremi Suri, a historian and presidential scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. He added that even pro-labor Democratic President Jimmy Carter never visited a picket line. “This would be a major, major shift for Biden to identify the presidency with striking workers, rather than siding with industry or staying above the fray.”