In a historic move, President Joe Biden became the first sitting president to join a picket line as he showed his support for striking autoworkers in Belleville, Michigan. Wearing a United Auto Workers baseball cap, Biden addressed the workers, emphasizing the contribution of unions in building the middle class. He expressed solidarity with their demands for higher pay and wage equality, stating that they deserve more than what they are currently being paid. The visit comes as Michigan and Ohio, key battleground states, prepare for the upcoming presidential election, with both Biden and former President Donald Trump vying for support from autoworkers.
Biden’s visit to the picket line was seen as a significant moment, highlighting his pro-union stance and commitment to supporting workers. The President acknowledged the importance of unions in shaping the country’s economy and emphasized that Wall Street did not build the nation, but rather the middle class did. Biden expressed his support for a 40% pay raise for the workers, despite the three Detroit carmakers countering with a 20% increase. The issue of wage equality also surfaced, with the UAW requesting that all workers be paid on the same scale, a proposal that the companies oppose.
The timing of Biden’s visit is crucial, as Michigan and Ohio will play a significant role in the upcoming presidential election. Trump, who won Ohio in 2016 and 2020, is planning his own rally in Michigan. Lawmakers from both parties have also visited the striking workers, showcasing the political significance of this strike. The UAW’s endorsement in the 2024 presidential race is yet to be determined, indicating that support from unions must be earned. Biden, however, expressed confidence and stated that he was not worried about whether the UAW will endorse him or not. Overall, Biden’s visit to the picket line aimed to rally support from autoworkers and demonstrate his commitment to workers’ rights and the labor movement.