Joe Biden Backs Striking Autoworkers in Key Battleground State – In a notable move aimed at bolstering support among union members and countering his political rival, President Joe Biden made a rare appearance on a picket line in Michigan on Tuesday.
The visit serves as a demonstration of solidarity with the striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, embroiled in an intensifying dispute with the nation’s largest car manufacturers.
A Strategic Move for Joe Biden
Biden’s visit to a Detroit-area plant comes a day before former President Donald Trump, the anticipated Republican contender in the upcoming 2024 election, addressed workers in the same key battleground state.
Michigan holds significant political importance, having played a crucial role in Trump’s 2016 victory and Biden’s subsequent win in 2020.
Both Must ‘Fight Hard’ For UAW Support, Says Experts
“What you’re seeing in Michigan…is a preview of the 2024 presidential election,” explained Susan J. Schurman, a Ph.d. Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations.
“Michigan is a key swing state that Trump won by a small margin in 2016 and Biden won by a larger margin in 2020.
“Both President Biden and former President Trump are seeking support from auto workers – and manufacturing workers in general. But the contrasting approaches are stark: President Biden states that he is ‘pro-union’ and was invited by the UAW president to join picket line. President Trump says he is ‘pro-worker’ and is appearing at a non-union facility – clearly snubbing the Union.”
Schurman, who is also President of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations told 19FortyFive:
“President Biden supports the shift to electric vehicles and seeks to keep production in the US. President Trump says electric vehicles will cause jobs to move to China. Although the UAW has historically supported the Democratic nominee, UAW members don’t always follow the Union’s lead. So both political parties and prospective candidates will fight hard to win auto workers’ votes in 2024 – especially in Michigan.”
Biden’s Message of Solidarity
President Joe Biden expressed his intent to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the UAW members engaged in the ongoing strike. The workers from Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis are demanding a fair share of the value they’ve helped create.
In a social media post, Biden emphasized the necessity for a mutually beneficial agreement that would sustain the American auto manufacturing industry with well-compensated UAW jobs. He voiced explicit backing for the strike, outlining his vision for a thriving auto industry and equitable compensation for its workforce.
The Battle for Union Support
The visit to the picket line not only underscores Biden’s commitment to workers but also aims to possibly secure an official endorsement from the UAW, which has not yet publicly supported his reelection bid.
The president’s alignment with the UAW’s cause and his proactive engagement to assist in settlement negotiations show a strategic posture in the ongoing battle for union support.
On the other hand, Trump, seeking to regain the significant union backing he received in 2016, has critiqued the leadership and policies related to electric vehicle production advocated by Biden. His efforts to sway union members have not been readily embraced.
As the battle for union support intensifies, both Biden and Trump are striving to solidify their standing among autoworkers and secure a vital advantage in the upcoming electoral race, keeping Michigan at the forefront of their campaign strategies.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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