Joe Biden joins UAW workers on picket line in US President first

Striking autoworkers received solidarity from the US President

As far as records know, Joe Biden has made history on Tuesday as the first sitting US President to join striking workers on a picket line.

Biden answered the call last Friday from United Auto Workers (UAW) trade union leader Shawn Fain to join striking autoworkers, which the president agreed to a few hours later.

The autoworkers are in their second week of strikes against the Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, pushing for better pay and fairer conditions from their employers.

The US leader expressed his support for striking UAW workers on Monday, who he praised for giving, “an incredible amount back when the automobile industry was going under.”

Arriving in Michigan this morning, Biden’s visit to the picket line is set to come a day before Donald Trump is also planning to make a visit to Detroit and address workers, despite the union denouncing a second term of Trump as a ‘disaster for workers.’

Although law makers and politicians attend picket lines, it is unheard of for a sitting President to do so, with Biden previously calling himself the ‘most pro-union president’ in history.

This has transcended not just symbolism but policy too, with Biden’s National Labor Relations Board passing pro-union rules, for example curtailing employers’ ability to delay union elections and penalising companies for committing unfair labour practices during a union recognition election.

Joe Biden has also recently expressed his support for the striking Hollywood writers in their dispute.

He wrote: “I applaud the WGA and AMPTP for reaching a tentative agreement that will allow writers to return to telling the stories of our nation, our world, and all of us.

“All workers – including writers, actors, and autoworkers – deserve a fair share of the value they helped create.”

Perhaps political leaders in the UK could take note from Biden’s bold approach to showing solidarity and support for trade unions and workers.

(Image: Sky News / YouTube)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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