In an unusual gesture described as “historic” by the White House, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, joined auto workers on a strike picket in the state of Michigan, expressing his support for them and arguing that they deserve a significant salary increase.
Wearing a baseball cap and holding a megaphone, the Democratic president praised the sacrifices made by members of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union to rescue the auto industry in 2008 and said they deserve a fair wage increase.
Biden’s visit to Michigan, which is seeking re-election in 2024, underscores his support for the union that is in the midst of a labor dispute with auto giants General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
Workers impatiently awaited the president’s arrival outside the factory entrance in Wayne, where they were on strike with signs reading “Save the American Dream” and a bonfire near a tent.
One of the workers, Patrick Smaller, expressed his pride in Biden’s support and his belief that the UAW should support the president in the election.
Biden managed to get ahead of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who plans to visit Michigan the next day to win over working people and possibly run for president again. Trump accused Biden of copying his idea to get a photo op and called the visit “nothing more than a bad photo op.”
Support for unions has been a hallmark of Biden’s tenure, and his visit highlights his commitment to the working class and the resurgence of American industry. However, he is also aware that the conflict in the automotive industry could have a negative impact on the country’s economy.
The visit of both politicians to Michigan demonstrates the importance of this state as a key point in United States electoral politics.