The strike continues for United Auto Workers union members as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump weigh in.
The strike has reached 30 General Motor plants scattered across the nation, including two Illinois plants in Naperville and Bolingbrook. So far, nearly 19,000 workers have joined the strike. The strike is against the three major auto companies: Ford, Stellantis and General Motors.
The UAW initially sought wage increases of as much as 46% over four years, cost-of-living adjustments, pensions and retiree health care for all workers, and a 32-hour work week paid as 40 hours, including the 46% pay hike.
On Tuesday in Michigan, Biden spoke with union leaders, becoming the first sitting president to join striking workers, and offered his support.
“You gave up a lot when these companies were in trouble. Now they’re doing incredibly well. And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well, too,” Biden said.
The Biden visit comes one day before Trump travels to Michigan to meet with workers.
“With Biden, it doesn’t matter what hourly wages they get, in three years there will be no autoworker jobs as they will all come out of China and other countries,” Trump said in a statement.
Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act adds and expands tax credits for purchases of new and used electric vehicles for American drivers. Trump said Biden does not care what these workers make because he does not view them as a part of his political future.
“Crooked Joe should be ashamed to show his face before these hardworking Americans he is stabbing in the back,” Trump said.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, spoke about the relationship between United Auto Workers Union President Shawn Fain and Democratic leaders. Mix said Fain will have a difficult time getting his workers to support Biden.
“He’s got to come out of this with a union that will continue to support Democrat political candidates who are literally driving united auto worker members out of their jobs by a cram down of electric vehicles,” Mix told The Center Square.
Mix said the Biden visit shows the importance of having these auto workers on his side come election time.
“He’s got to have the United Auto Workers union and the rest of big labor, and I mean the union officials, not the rank and file workers, on his team as he heads into 2024,” Mix said.
Trump’s visit is planned for Wednesday, but he released a statement following Biden’s Michigan trip.
“Joe Biden’s draconian and indefensible Electric Vehicle mandate will annihilate the U.S. auto industry and cost countless thousands of autoworkers their jobs. The only thing Biden could say today that would help the striking autoworkers is to announce the immediate termination of his ridiculous mandate,” Trump said. “Anything else is just a feeble and insulting attempt to distract American labor from this vicious Biden betrayal.”
The UAW contract expired on Sept. 14. The big three manufacturers make up 50% of all vehicles manufactured in the United States. So far, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Illinois have workers who have joined the strike.