President Biden stands with striking auto workers, supports pay increase demand

In an unprecedented event, President Joe Biden joined striking auto workers outside a General Motors parts facility in Belleville on Tuesday, marking a historic first for a sitting president to visit a picket line. Expressing his support for the thousands of United Auto Workers (UAW) members leading a significant strike against the Detroit Three automakers, the President underscored the essential role the middle class, particularly union workers, plays in building and sustaining the nation’s economy.

Biden’s Support for 40% Raise

In response to a query on wage increase, Biden affirmed his support for the workers’ demand for a 40% raise, a proposition central to the UAW demands and so far rejected by the automakers as untenable. Flanked by UAW President Shawn Fain, President Biden echoed the sentiment that workers deserve more pay, along with additional benefits advocated for by the union negotiators.

What the President Said

Biden praised the contributions of the UAW to the automobile industry, highlighting their crucial role in salvaging the industry in 2008. “You guys, the UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before,” Biden stated. Reflecting on the flourishing condition of the auto companies, the President emphasized the rightful share of prosperity the workers should also enjoy. He celebrated the contributions of the middle class, underscoring that “Wall Street didn’t build the country. The middle class built the country.”

State of Play at Willow Run

The president made his stand near GM’s Willow Run parts center, a former 5 million-square-foot plant that once manufactured transmissions. Despite its shuttering in 2010 post-GM’s bankruptcy, the distribution facility survives as a smaller operation, with its workers having joined the ongoing strike last week.

Absence and Presence of Local Dignitaries

Although Mayor Mike Duggan was absent during the presidential visit, other elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor), Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), were present to welcome President Biden upon his arrival at Detroit Metro Airport.

What Lies Ahead

In the wake of President Biden’s visit and his expressed support for the striking auto workers, anticipation builds for Former President Trump’s planned speech at auto supplier Drake Automotive in Clinton Township on Wednesday at 8 pm.

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