Biden left the White House in the morning, boarded the Marine One helicopter that was waiting for him in the gardens of the residence, and flew to Andrews Military Air Base, where the Air Force One plane was waiting for him to take him to Detroit, Michigan. a decisive state in the presidential election, where he participated in the auto workers’ union protest against General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, known as the “Big Three” of the auto industry.
“Wall Street didn’t build this country; the middle class built it. And unions build the middle class,” Biden said, holding a megaphone and wearing a union cap amid cheers from workers. “It’s a fact! So let’s move on; they deserve what they’re getting. And they’re getting more than what they’re paying now,” the president told them.
President Biden joins the UAW picket line in Detroit in solidarity with striking autoworkers:
“You deserve the significant raise you need and other benefits.” pic.twitter.com/LPKBTpSWtw
— The Recount (@therecount) September 26, 2023
Biden joined hundreds of United Automobile Workers union workers near a General Motors factory west of the city, leading a historic strike against the company for nearly two weeks. Dressed in red, the workers held signs demanding better contracts and better wages because of the profits of the companies, which were bailed out by the federal government during the global financial crisis. Biden brought them a message of support: “Keep doing it,” he told them.
In Detroit, Biden was welcomed to a protest by union president Shawn Fain. “This is a historic day,” he said, to frame the moment.
It is the first time in US history that a president has joined a picket line of striking workers, a move Biden has sought to strengthen his ties to the country’s unions and the middle class, which appears at the center of his economic policy. Biden already supported the workers’ claim in a statement released by the White House, but now the president and his team want to add a gesture and a photo.
The chosen day is no coincidence: Donald Trump, who is on track to re-oppose Biden in next year’s presidential election, is scheduled to travel to Detroit on Wednesday to give a speech to hundreds of auto factory workers.
The union’s historic protest—”the fight of our lives,” Fain said—began on September 15, when workers at three iconic North American automakers decided to jointly demand a wage increase after a four-year contract with automotive bill companies at 11:59 p.m. last night. It was the first time in the union’s 88-year history that a simultaneous strike was launched by all three companies. On the same day, Biden gave a speech at the White House.
“Unions are raising standards in their workplaces and across industries, raising wages, and strengthening benefits for everyone,” Biden said in that message. “And that’s why it’s important to have strong unions to develop the economy and do it from the center out, from the bottom up, not from the top down,” he said, using the slogan he used to promote his policy in the economy.
In Detroit, Biden deepened his support for workers, who he said have made tremendous sacrifices for their companies, which are now doing very well.
“And you know what? You must be doing well too,” he concluded.
Biden’s support of labor and unions is one of the features of his political brand. Biden put the defense of the middle class and workers at the center of his presidential campaign, promising an economy that works for everyone and rejecting the postulates of the so-called trickle-down theory. Upon his arrival in the White House, Biden is set to become the president closest to unions in the history of the United States, where unionism has grown in recent years despite opposition from some iconic companies in the country, like Amazon.