by Will Kessler
President Joe Biden may face headwinds in his 2024 reelection bid following his inability to prevent workers at the three biggest American auto manufacturers from striking, according to Politico.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced a strike Thursday night against the Big Three automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — saying that members would not be showing up to three plants on Friday, but stopping short of calling for all 146,000 unionized autoworkers to cease operations. Some have begun to place blame on the president for failing to help in negotiations, souring the president’s desired image of being “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” according to Politico.
“Historically, man, if you didn’t vote Democrat years ago and you were in the union, sometimes you got your ass kicked,” Denny Butler, a committee member at UAW Local 685 in Indiana, told Politico. “Democrats were for the working people. That shit has changed. I’m telling you what, the Democratic Party was not what it was 20, 30 years ago.”
The strike could also affect Biden’s reputation on the economy, as an extended auto strike threatens to raise vehicle prices, according to CNN. The calculated economic loss of a total strike over just 10 days would be $5.6 billion, with union workers losing a total of $859 million in wages.
The president also battles the desires of two constituencies that are at odds over the shift to electric vehicles, according to CNN. Blue-collar auto workers, like those who contributed to the president’s 2020 win in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, are apprehensive about the expansion of electric vehicle manufacturing that they argue could threaten their jobs, while environmentalists desire a quick shift to a greener economy.
As @UAW went on strike, union president Shawn Fain said:
“The cost of labor that goes into a vehicle is 5% of the vehicle. They could double our wages. And they could not raise the price of vehicles and they would still make billions of dollars.” pic.twitter.com/76llIPKI1o
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) September 15, 2023
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the nation’s most prominent business groups, blamed Biden for the UAW strike, according to Politico. Suzanne Clark, the president of the group, stated that Biden’s broad support of unions had ultimately spurred the strike.
“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,” Clark said in a statement on Friday, according to Politico.
Democrats representing Michigan in Congress said that they plan to join the picket lines, including Sen. Gary Peters, Rep. Debbie Dingell and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, choosing to support the union on the front lines while Biden still struggles to address the issue, Politico reported.
The UAW and the White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Will Kessler is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “UAW Workers on Strike” by UAW International Union.