For Biden, UAW Strike Is High Stakes

President's economic vision is just one issue on the line
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2023 2:55 PM CDT
Autoworkers Should Receive 'Record Contracts': Biden
President Biden speaks about the autoworkers strike from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Friday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden on Friday addressed the autoworkers strike he said nobody wanted. "Workers deserve a fair share," Biden said in remarks delivered at the White House. "The companies have made some significant offers, but I believe it should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts." The president said he will dispatch Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit to help with the negotiations between the United Auto Workers and the Big Three US automakers, the BBC reports. The showdown is a major challenge to the economic stands of the leader who has said, "I'm proud to be the most pro-union president."

Biden's aides say the strike's resolution could support his arguments about dealing with income inequality and the need for companies with increasing profits to pay employees more, as well as moving the automakers to the production of more electric vehicles. On top of those issues, per the New York Times, Michigan is critical to the president winning reelection. A Democratic strategist who used to work for the AFL-CIO said many issues are landing at once. "You've got rebuilding the middle class and building things again here. You've got green energy, technology, and jobs," said Eddie Vale. For the president, he said, the moment carries risk for the "Bidenomics" vision.

The US Chamber of Commerce's president has already tied the auto strike to the big picture, including the labor impasse in Hollywood, saying the economy will suffer. "The UAW strike and indeed the 'summer of strikes' is the natural result of the Biden administration's 'whole of government' approach to promoting unionization at all costs," said Suzanne Clark. Should Biden soften on his pro-union stances, he could hear from organized labor, as well. Unions were not universally pleased with his handling of the standoff last fall between railroads and their workers last fall. (More President Biden stories.)

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