President Joe Biden stood alongside United Auto Workers (UAW) members on the picket line in Detroit, offering his support for their struggle to secure new contracts that

include substantial pay raises.

Addressing the union members through a bullhorn, Biden acknowledged the pivotal role played by the UAW in rescuing the auto industry during the 2008 crisis. He emphasized that the workers had made significant sacrifices when the companies faced financial challenges, and now that the industry is thriving, they deserve to reap the rewards.

"You should be doing incredibly well too," President Biden declared. He encouraged the UAW members to persevere, asserting that they deserved a significant pay raise and additional benefits. Biden, wearing a UAW hat, underscored the reciprocal relationship, stating, "We saved them, it's about time they step up for us."

The White House had avoided directly addressing whether Biden supported the specific demands of the UAW workers. However, when questioned on the picket line about whether he believed workers deserved a 40% pay increase, Biden responded affirmatively with a resounding "yes."

President Biden's visit to the striking General Motors Redistribution Center outside Detroit was at the invitation of UAW President Shawn Fain. This facility is one of 38 parts and distribution centers in 20 states currently participating in the strike.

Former President Donald Trump chose to forgo the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday to rally with workers at an auto supplier nearby. It's important to note that the employees at that facility are not represented by the UAW, and Fain had criticized Trump's visit.

Following President Biden's address, Fain expressed gratitude for the visit, marking the first time in at least a century that a sitting president had joined a picket line. Fain asserted that the future belongs to the working class and thanked President Biden for standing with them.

The UAW strike presented a political challenge for President Biden, who has positioned himself as "the most pro-union president in American history." Some of the UAW's demands are in response to the administration's electric vehicle policies, which the union believes may lead to job losses.

In addition to seeking a 40% increase in hourly wages, autoworkers are advocating for a reduced 32-hour workweek, a return to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers, and the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments, among other demands, including enhanced retiree benefits and family leave.

The UAW, representing 146,000 workers at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler's parent company, Stellantis, is the only major union that has not yet endorsed President Biden for reelection. Despite the historical alignment of the UAW with the Democratic party, Fain has been a vocal critic of former President Trump's policies. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, Wikimedia commons.