President Biden will travel to Michigan next week in support of striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to The Hill.
Biden’s trip marks a significant display of support for organized labor as UAW members in 20 different states strike amid a contract dispute with the “Big Three’ automakers — Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis.
“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,” he posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
Biden has frequently touted himself as the most pro-union president in history, and his visit to Michigan next week will likely be celebrated by organized labor groups and Democrats who have pushed for him to make a trip to the picket line.
The Washington Post first reported Biden’s plans.
The decision comes hours after UAW President Shawn Fain announced the union would expand its strike to include Stellantis and GM parts distribution facilities at 38 locations across 28 states.
“We invite and encourage everyone who supports our case to join us on the picket line, from our friends and families all the way up to the president of the United States,” Fain said. “We invite you to join us in our fight.”
Biden’s trip will preempt former President Trump, who is planning to travel to Detroit next Wednesday to give a speech instead of attending the second GOP primary debate that night. Fain, however, has been sharply critical of Trump, and the former president is unlikely to appear on the picket line.
Senior Trump adviser Jason Miller on Friday called Biden’s visit to Michigan “nothing more than a cheap photo op as he finds himself between a rock and a political hard place.”
“The only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he is going on Wednesday. If President Trump had said nothing, Biden would be giving UAW workers in Michigan ‘the East Palestine treatment,'” Miller said, referencing the Ohio town Biden has yet to visit following a trail derailment earlier this year that spilled toxic chemicals into the community.
Autoworkers represented by the UAW first went on strike at a small number of factories last week after the union failed to reach a deal with the automakers before the employees’ contracts ended.
The union is asking for increased pay and benefits, as well as more security for part-time staffers. Also at issue is the fate of union members as auto companies increasingly transition toward manufacturing electric vehicles.
Biden in remarks last week called on auto companies to share “record profits” with their workers. But Biden has also supported incentives for the production and use of electric vehicles, making it a tricky issue for him politically.
Fain on Friday reported progress in talks with Ford, but said there is still a ways to go in negotiations with Stellantis and GM.
Updated at 5:32 p.m.
Source: The Hill