Biden to Michigan workers: Unions are ‘single biggest reason’ for economic success

President Joe Biden speaks with UAW members during a campaign stop on Thursday in Warren. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Kyle Kaminski

February 2, 2024

President Joe Biden visited with union auto workers in Macomb County on Thursday after being endorsed for re-election last week by the United Auto Workers.

MICHIGAN—President Joe Biden flew into Michigan on Thursday to meet with members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and emphasize his administration’s support for labor unions, which he said are “the single biggest reason” the American economy has been able to thrive.

“Supporting you is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Not a joke,” Biden told auto workers. “The single biggest reason why we have—unions are growing, the single biggest reason why the economy is growing, is because you are the best workers in the world. That’s not hyperbole.”

Biden’s visit with auto workers came just days after the UAW endorsed him for re-election.

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The United Auto Workers endorsed President Joe Biden for reelection this week, with union leader Shawn Fain making clear that Biden was a far more pro-worker candidate than Donald Trump. The UAW, which represents more than 400,000 workers, primarily in the auto industry, won major new contracts for workers employed by Ford, GM, and Stellantis last year. Biden visited a UAW picket line in Michigan during the union’s strike against the Big Three car makers last September, the first time a sitting president has done so. “Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker,” Fain said in his announcement during the UAW’s political convention in Washington, D.C. Biden reiterated his support for workers as he accepted the union’s endorsement. “Wall Street didn’t build America, the middle class built America and unions built the middle class,” Biden said. “As long as I’m president, the working people are gonna get their fair share. … You deserve it.”

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During the visit, union President Shawn Fain praised Biden’s pro-union policies and his ties to the working class, as well as Biden’s last visit to Michigan in September—when he became the first president to visit a picket line during the strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

“We know who’s been there for labor and who wasn’t,” Fain told auto workers this week, contrasting Biden’s pro-union policies against those of ex-President Donald Trump—which were far from worker-friendly and included unfavorable rulings from his appointed National Labor Relations Board and the US Supreme Court, as well as unfulfilled promises of automotive jobs.

Fain also said the union’s mission now is to “keep Joe Biden as our president.”

Biden was joined by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, US Rep. Debbie Dingell and US Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. They talked with customers at a restaurant in Harper Woods before visiting with union workers at a nearby UAW hall, according to reports from Michigan Advance.

“Wall Street didn’t build the middle class. Labor built the middle class. And the middle class built the country. And when labor does well, everybody does well,” Biden told about 100 auto workers at the event on Thursday. “Inflation is coming down. Jobs are growing. We created 800,000 manufacturing jobs. Remember they told us we were dead—manufacturing is dead in America and China was going to eat our lunch? Well guess what, man? We don’t taste that good.”

The UAW represents more than 400,000 workers—primarily in the auto industry—and won major new contracts for workers employed by Ford, GM, and Stellantis last year. Those included record-setting wage increases, as well as other benefits for thousands of workers.

“Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker,” Fain said during his endorsement announcement in Washington DC last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

READ MORE: Biden visits striking UAW workers, Trump visits non-union shop

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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