Joe Biden UAW strike: US president visits UAW picket line, tells union to 'stick with it'

5 months ago
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United States President Joe Biden joined United Auto Workers strikers on the picket line as walkouts against major automakers reached their 12th day; This is a display of support for organized labor that is apparently unprecedented in presidential history. "You deserve the significant raise you need," Biden said into megaphone while wearing union baseball cap after arriving at General Motors parts distribution warehouse in suburb west of Detroit. He walked along the picket line and exchanged blows with grinning workers. READ US bank settles major Epstein case President Joe Biden joins the United Auto Workers on strike in Van Buren Township, Michigan, on September 26, 2023. UAW president Shawn Fain stands at left. He encouraged them to continue fighting for better wages, saying "stick with it" despite concerns that a prolonged strike could damage the economy. When asked if UAW members deserved the 40 percent raise that was one of the union's demands, he said "yes." "No deal, no wheel!" When Biden came, workers chanted slogans. "No fee, no parts!" He was accompanied by UAW president Shawn Fain, who escorted him to the picket line in the presidential limousine. Stating that the union is in "a kind of war" against "corporate greed", Fain said "Thank you, Mr. President, for standing up with us at the moment that defined our generation." "We do the heavy lifting. We do the real work," Fein said. “Not CEOs.” Labor historians say they cannot recall an instance of a sitting president participating in an ongoing strike, even during the tenures of more ardently pro-union presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman. UAW union members picket in the street in front of the Stellantis distribution center on Monday. During a historic coal strike in 1902, Theodore Roosevelt invited labor leaders well as mine operators to White House; This was seen a decision that unions rarely embraced at the time Roosevelt was trying to resolve dispute. Biden arrived a day before former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, is due travel Detroit hold his own event appeal auto workers, even as union leaders say he is not an ally. Lawmakers frequently go on strikes to show solidarity with unions, and Biden joined picket lines with casino workers in Las Vegas and auto workers in Kansas City during his quest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. READ Taxi was used to transfer grandmother between hospitals Members of United Auto Workers march on the picket line at Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. But incumbent presidents, who must balance workers' rights with disruptions to the economy, supply chains and other areas of daily life, had long wanted to stay out of the strike fight until Biden. "This is absolutely unprecedented. No president has ever walked a picket line before," said Erik Loomis, a professor at the University of Rhode Island and an expert on U.S. labor histo