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Biden to join UAW picket line in Michigan Tuesday

President takes up UAW boss’s offer to join striking workers

President Joe Biden announced he will join striking UAW members at a Michigan picket line Tuesday.

“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,” Biden tweeted Friday.

“It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs,” he added.

Biden’s tweet was sent about 5 p.m., hours after UAW President Shawn Fain invited the president to join workers on the picket line. In that same video, posted on X, Fain announced that workers at 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution facilities would join the strike, along with the three facilities that kicked it off: Stellantis’s Wentzville plant in Missouri, GM’s Toledo Assembly in Ohio, and Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne.

Fain said since “real progress” had been made with Ford, and the union did not expand the strike at Ford facilities. But the factory that was on strike will remain on strike until a deal is reached.

Biden is the highest-profile politician to join UAW workers on the picket line. On Sept. 15, the day the strike began, former Democratic presidential contender and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, visited the picket line. Most every Democratic politician in Michigan has done the same.

A presidential historian called Biden’s move “very rare” for a president and a “major shift” from the past.

“It’s very rare for a president to visit strikers," Jeremi Suri, a historian and presidential scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, told Reuters, adding that former President Jimmy Carter never visited a picket line. “This would be a major, major shift for Biden to identify the presidency with striking workers, rather than siding with industry or staying above the fray.”

The UAW strike began Sept. 15. The union seeks a 46% pay hike, cost of living adjustments, and the elimination of wage tiers separating veteran workers from more-recent hires. 

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.