President Joe Biden visited striking United Auto Workers (UAW) in Michigan this week, preceding a planned visit by former President Donald Trump during the upcoming Republican debate Wednesday. The visit by the two candidates could set up a crucial early battle in the 2024 presidential election.
The president visited the striking workers in Wayne County, Michigan Tuesday. Upon arriving, Biden spoke for several minutes, stating that he supported the goals of the striking workers. The UAW is requesting a significant increase in pay, including a proposal to be paid for a full five-day week on four days per week.
Biden received significant criticism from Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), who aligned himself with members of the UAW. Vance said that as large automakers such as Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) increasingly relied on “global supply chains and non-union labor, the less the UAW can effectively push for higher wages.”
Joe Biden minutes after slipping on steps of Air Force One:
“I marched a lot of UAW picket lines when I was a Senator since 1973. But I tell you what— first time I’ve ever done it in person.” pic.twitter.com/iPSudUJg1U
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 26, 2023
“Their leverage decreases every time a consumer buys a car made without an Ohio worker, and yet the policies of the Biden administration are explicitly designed to shift the auto industry offshore,” Vance said.
The former president indicated his support for striking workers, stating that the plans by large automakers to convert much of their fleets to electric vehicles would harm the blue-collar workers. Trump plans to visit a Macomb County, Michigan plant.
Trump said that much of the production of electric vehicles is and will be dominated by China.
Trump plans to make a speech to the employees at the Drake Enterprises building and will meet with both current and retired UAW members.
Trump said in a recent NBC News interview that the union’s members had been “sold down the river” by leadership.
When asked whether or not he supported the large automakers or the union leadership, he said that he was “on the side of making our country great.”
During his visit to Michigan, Biden did not mention Trump’s concerns regarding electric vehicle production.