As the United Auto Workers continue their “stand-up strike” against the big three Detroit automakers, union President Shawn Fain delivered a harsh analysis of Donald Trump on Tuesday.
After CNN host Wolf Blitzer rattled off thoughtless big-business talking points, Fain responded that “any time working class people stand up for themselves, there's always this mantra of fear being put out there that if we pay the workers this, it's going to hurt the economy, it's going to raise the car prices. All these things have happened when we've went backwards in wages.”
Blitzer then asked if Trump’s planned Wednesday speech meant anything to the UAW. Blitzer neglected to mention that this speech will occur at a nonunion auto parts manufacturer, but Fain was quick to point that out. “I find the pathetic irony that the former president is going to hold a rally for union members at a nonunion business.” he said. And from there, Fain gave a history lesson about Trump’s opinions on the working class—and the UAW, in particular.
Fain assailed Trump for doing nothing to support UAW strikers in 2019, while Trump was president. “I didn’t see him hold a rally,” Fain said about Trump. “I didn’t see him stand up at the picket line. And I sure as hell didn’t hear him comment about it. He was missing in action.”
Blitzer asked if Fain would meet with the candidate during Trump’s stop in Detroit, and Fain dropped a bucket of American-made facts: “I see no point in meeting with him, because I don't think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for. He serves a billionaire class. And that's what's wrong with this country.”
RELATED STORY: Watch Trump complain about paying workers well in 2008
One of the biggest hurdles labor actions must overcome is when traditional media and conservative officials accuse workers of being greedy at the expense of the economy. This skews the public’s perception of what is at stake while blurring the basic facts: CEOs pull in multimillion-dollar salaries, and their companies boast multibillion-dollar annual profits. All this while workers make less, working harder and longer hours.
It is one of the many reasons that President Joe Biden being the first sitting president to visit a picket line was such an important and historic moment in labor history.
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