UPDATE: Joan McCarter
President Biden has accepted the invitation. “Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create. It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs,” he tweeted Friday.
As promised, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced an expansion of the union’s strike starting at noon on Friday. But there was a twist: The escalation is against just two of the Big Three automakers. Citing progress in negotiations with Ford, Fain called on workers to strike at 38 Stellantis and General Motors parts distribution centers in 20 states.
"This expansion will also take our fight nationwide. We will be everywhere from California to Massachusetts, from Oregon to Florida," Fain said on Facebook Live. "Across the country, people are going to know that the UAW is ready to stand up for our communities, and ready to stand up against corporate greed."
This move shows that while the UAW is ready to go big in its fight, it’s also ready to negotiate and end the strike if it can reach a good deal for its members. “We’ve made some real progress at Ford,” Fain said. “We still have serious issues to work through — but we do want to recognize that Ford is showing that they're serious about reaching a deal. At GM and Stellantis, it’s a different story.”
Fain also issued a public invitation to the union’s supporters—and to one person in particular.
“We invite and encourage everyone who supports our cause to join us on the picket lines, from our friends and family all the way to the president of the United States,” he said. The White House did not immediately commit either way, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters, “I don't have any updates to the president's schedule” but that Biden appreciates the invitation. “He is a union guy, who will continue to fight for the UAW and also union workers,” Jean-Pierre said. If so, the answer should be easy, especially with the strike expanding to so many locations that can be slipped into a schedule.
Biden’s campaign, however, put out a message celebrating Republican attacks on Biden for being too pro-worker:
“When you have a president that’s constantly saying, ‘Go union, go union,’ this is what you get,” Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador and current Republican presidential candidate, is shown saying. “The unions get emboldened and then they start asking for things.”
Fox News personality Neil Cavuto adds to the horror of the accusations against Biden, saying, “This president clearly does prioritize union jobs. And he’s made very clear here that union workers deserve more, that their pay increases have not come close to the success and the money that all of these auto companies have enjoyed.”
It’s great that Biden is ready to embrace those devastating attacks. Here’s hoping he’s on a UAW picket line before too long.
Add your name: Solidarity with United Auto Workers! #StandUpUAW