President Joe Biden picked up a bullhorn on the picket line on Tuesday and encouraged striking auto workers to "stick with it," in an unprecedented show of support for organized labor by a modern president, reported Seung Min Kim, Tom Krisher, and Chris Megerian for the Associated Press (AP).
The White House noted that Biden was the first modern president to visit a picket line, illustrating how far he is willing to go to secure union support as he seeks reelection. I Photo: President Joe Biden Facebook
Sporting a union ballcap and exchanging fist bumps, Biden told United Auto Workers strikers that "you deserve the significant raise you need" as he made a stop in the Detroit area just a day before a planned visit by former President Donald Trump, who is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in next year's election.
As Biden arrived at a General Motors parts distribution warehouse, one of several facilities affected by the ongoing strike, workers chanted, "No deal, no wheels!" and "No pay, no parts!"
When asked if UAW members deserved a 40% raise, which is one of their demands during negotiations, Biden responded, "Yes, I think they should be able to bargain for that."
He has consistently argued that auto companies have not gone far enough to meet union demands, particularly after making concessions in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Biden stated, "The fact of the matter is that you guys, the UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008...you made a lot of sacrifices. You gave up a lot. And the companies were in trouble. Now they're doing incredibly well, and guess what? You should be doing incredibly well."
The White House noted that Biden was the first modern president to visit a picket line, illustrating how far he is willing to go to secure union support as he seeks reelection.