HomeBusinessAs Trump courts Detroit unions, Democrats urge Biden to join UAW strikers

As Trump courts Detroit unions, Democrats urge Biden to join UAW strikers

president biden is coming under increasing pressure from some Democratic lawmakers to do something none of his predecessors appear to have done in office: join striking workers picketing.

Like the United Auto Workers union strike against the three largest car manufacturers in the countryNumerous Democrats in Michigan and across the country have expressed concern about being Biden’s likely rival in next year’s election, former President donald trumpattempts to woo union voters and weaken a crucial Democratic constituency by making his own visit to the site of a strike.

Trump is planning a rally in Detroit next week with union workers, including autoworkers, during the upcoming GOP primary debate, though it’s unclear whether he will also visit the picket line, according to a person familiar with campaign planning, who He spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the plans.

Why UAW workers say they are on strike

Democrats want Biden to highlight differences between the parties on labor issues.

“It would send a very strong message that Democrats represent workers; I really think Biden should run, and run soon,” said Michigan state Rep. Mike McFall, a first-term Democrat whose district includes part of Detroit. “I’m pretty worried about Trump coming out and what that would mean for our party in November.”

Biden applauded the UAW’s targeted strike against Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers and on Friday called on General Motors, Ford and Stellantis to improve their wage proposals to the union. The president’s advisers believe that he has I have already gone beyond support workers through numerous executive orders and laws aimed at strengthening worker outcomes. And yet, the job action has posed a political conundrum for the president, who must determine how far to go to support UAW workers.

The White House declined to comment when asked if Biden is considering a visit to the picket line. But in interviews with The Washington Post, more than half a dozen Democrats in Congress and the Michigan state legislature said he should go. UAW leaders have also told the White House that a presidential visit would be welcome, although they have not issued a formal invitation, according to two people with knowledge of internal discussions and a UAW official, all three speaking on condition of anonymity. to describe private conversations.

“I know the UAW family would love for the most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States, to come and hold a sign in solidarity with them. But I hope you do it in a way where you really sit down and have a roundtable with some key people and really hear how difficult it has been,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). “Of course, the arrival of the president would be extremely important. But people want someone to stand up for them and demand a form of economic justice for them and their families to come in solidarity.”

As Biden backs striking autoworkers, Trump attacks union leader

Several members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.), have joined the a UAW picket line since the strike began at midnight Friday morning. .

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who He is co-author of an opinion article with UAW President Shawn Fain on the strike and joined striking workers Monday in Michigan and Ohio, said in a statement: “It would be great for President Biden to go too, as he has been the most pro-union in decades. “

Asked about calls for Biden to join the picket line, White House spokeswoman Robyn Patterson pointed to the president’s previous statements backing the union. Biden said Friday that automakers “should go further to ensure that record corporate profits mean record contracts,” echoing comments from the UAW. Biden has named staunch labor allies to the National Labor Relations Board and the federal judiciary, and provisions of a 2021 law. backed gave workers greater bargaining power and boosted unionization efforts throughout the country.

“There is no question that the President supports UAW workers,” Patterson said by email. “His statement from him on Friday made that very clear.”

Still, Trump’s visit to woo blue-collar workers could complicate White House political calculations. The former president has eroded union support for Democrats in the Rust Belt and could try to make more progress before the 2024 election. Trump’s planned trip to Detroit was first reported by the New York Times on Monday.

As a matter of policy, experts agree that there is no doubt that Biden has done much more to support unions. Trump enacted numerous policies loathed by unions, weakened the NLRB and passed legislation focused on lower corporate taxes. And Trump has publicly feuded with Fain, ridiculing the union leader and urging union members not to pay their dues. in a interview with NBC News that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Trump said auto workers were “being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should stand behind Trump,” a sentiment he reiterated in a publish on Truth Socialthe social network you own.

5 key pillars of President Biden’s economic revolution

Some Michigan Democrats expressed alarm at the idea that Trump could visit a picket line before Biden.

“Trump would get a lot of news coverage and free media. We don’t need that,” said state Rep. Donavan McKinney, who called the prospect “terrible.”

“President Biden can take charge of the narrative and show that the administration, and Democrats as a whole, are supporting their largest base, which is unions and the working class,” McKinney said. “I would say a lot… What can we do to get Biden here?

State Rep. Jason Morgan added: “I would love to see Biden visit the picket line here in Michigan… Our unions have tremendous support today, and there is no reason not to join our workers in demanding better wages and better working conditions. “

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who has worked for Biden, said polls suggest that young people, and Black voters in particular, support the UAW and that Biden needs both to win Michigan in 2024.

“Voters are very supportive of the strike and very supportive of the ongoing organizing; they really agree with the basic premise that CEOs are hoarding money and that prosperity must be preserved,” Lake said. “I think it’s a great idea for him to leave.”

However, not all Democrats think Biden should rush.

James Blanchard, who was Michigan’s Democratic governor from 1983 to 1991, said Biden has made his position on the UAW strike “very clear” and that walking the picket line could set a precedent in which the president is expected to walk many further. .

“I’m not sure that the president should form a picket: you start one and you have to do the others. He has strongly supported UAW workers,” Blanchard said.

As UAW Strike Looms, Biden Faces Win-Win Test

Some conservatives also objected to the prospect of the president taking sides so visibly. Traditionally, presidents have tried to act as neutral mediators whenever possible. (Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of workforce education research at Cornell University, said Biden would likely be the first president in a century to join a picket line.)

“You’re putting the full weight of the federal government on one side of a private dispute, and that’s generally not done because we have a vision of justice in the country and you don’t put your thumb on the scale,” Doug said. Holtz-Eakin, Republican Party policy analyst. “Until now the limit has been crossed and people have lost sight of the limits. “I think it’s really bad.”

Still, some workers said they would welcome Biden.

Sharifia Fambro, 52, a striking worker at the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, who earns $19.10 an hour, said she hopes Biden will show up at the picket line to “show his solidarity with the UAW.” Fambro, who installs fascias on Bronco vehicles, added that she believes it would help elevate workers’ cause for the president to “show that he knows what we’re going through.”

Lauren Kaori Gurley contributed to this report.

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