Biden makes history in joining striking UAW workers on picket line
U.S. President Joe Biden joined striking autoworkers on the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday. The show of support marked what the White House said was the first time a sitting president has visited a picket line in modern times. Addressing the workers, Biden said, “You deserve the significant raise you need and other benefits.”
Politico said the gesture was “likely the most visible step any president has taken on behalf of striking workers,”• 1 while MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem called it a “powerful symbolic gesture.” The move could give the UAW workers more leverage in negotiations, while also making the union more likely to endorse Biden, Aleem wrote.• 2 And it could bolster his support among the public, with polling showing that most Americans back the striking workers.• 3
Robert Reich, the former U.S. labor secretary, called on Biden to do more to address the root causes of inequality in the country by publicly criticizing CEOs and the super-rich for growing wealth gaps that hurt the middle class.• 4 Some Democrats, though, prefer the president take a more hands-off approach. Steven Rattner, who led Barack Obama’s auto industry task force, said it’s “outrageous” for Biden to go to the picket line as tradition dictates that presidents should remain neutral. Biden “bowed to the progressives, and now he’s going out there to put his thumb on the scale,”• 5 Rattner said.
Former President Donald Trump is planning to visit Michigan to show his support for the strike a day after Biden. (Trump’s trip was announced first, and he accused Biden of only going to Michigan because he is.)• 6 In doing so, the two frontrunners for their party’s 2024 nominations are trying to pitch themselves as working-class allies, despite having divergent labor records, The Washington Post reported.• 7 But Biden’s move comes with risk; if the strike isn’t resolved soon and the economy is impacted, he could take the blame.
The Washington Post, Biden, Trump square off for Michigan’s working-class voters