US President Biden with strikers: "You made a lot of sacrifices when companies were struggling"
Photo: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / REUTERS
US President Joe Biden has paid a historic solidarity visit to striking auto industry workers. "You made a lot of sacrifices when the companies were struggling," Biden said with a megaphone in front of the several dozen protesters in Detroit. "Now they're doing incredibly well, and – imagine – you should be doing incredibly well, too."
As the presidential campaign begins next year, Biden repeatedly emphasizes that he is the most union-friendly president of all time. "Wall Street didn't create this country. The middle class created this country. And unions created the middle class," Biden said in the state of Michigan.
Detroit is considered the center of car manufacturing in the United States. The open expression of solidarity by a president at a picket line on the ground is considered historically unique. Traditionally, trade unions in the US are weaker than in Germany.
The Democratic Party politician, who wore a cap with the UAW logo on his appearance, is a staunch supporter of unions. However, the strike at the carmakers Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis with the Chrysler brand is increasingly becoming a problem for him because of the negative impact on the US economy.
Biden's spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized in the run-up to the trip that the president wanted a "win-win" situation. He will not interfere in the negotiations between the union and employers.
Strike of the "Big Three" of the U.S. auto industry
The strike at the so-called "Big Three" of the U.S. auto industry began almost two weeks ago. The UAW, which has around 150,000 members, recently demanded a 36 percent increase in incomes over four years in negotiations before the strikes began in mid-September.
The original demand was 40 percent – because the incomes of the top management of the large car companies had grown in this order of magnitude. The carmakers were prepared for growth of up to 20 percent over a period of four and a half years.
The 80-year-old Biden regularly advertises his economic policy with a view to the November 2024 election, in which he wants to run for a second term in the White House. However, it is precisely in this area that voters give him a bad report in polls – despite a generally good economic development.