President Joe Biden is making significant strides in securing the support of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, a crucial group within the labor movement. His recent participation in a strike at an auto plant in Belvidere, Illinois, marked a moment of celebration for a new UAW contract, featuring historic pay raises for workers. Donning a red UAW T-shirt, the president addressed the crowd with enthusiasm, highlighting his longstanding connection to the UAW and emphasizing the vital role they play in preserving the auto industry. Although UAW President Shawn Fain has not formally endorsed Biden for reelection, their joint appearance suggests a potential closing of the gap that former President Donald Trump sought to exploit.
President Joe Biden may have locked his last big union holdout.
No less than 17 different unions endorsed Biden in June, including most of the big names and acronyms of organized labor.https://t.co/UDTvxIlyJF
— Conservative News Daily (@ConservNewsDly) November 10, 2023
Initially hesitant to endorse Biden, the UAW had concerns about the potential negative impacts of his electric vehicle push on UAW workers. Trump attempted to capitalize on this, urging the union to support him by claiming he could boost their business. Despite some union members backing Republicans, Fain had already expressed that another Trump presidency would be disastrous, and Biden ultimately secured 57% of union households in the 2020 election.
Currently, both Trump and Biden are actively seeking the support of blue-collar workers in critical swing states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Taking cues from Trump's 2016 campaign, Biden has maintained trade tariffs while also enacting a $1.2 trillion infrastructure law expected to benefit union labor. Conversely, Trump is delving into the electric vehicle debate to appeal to blue-collar workers, accusing the industry of job losses to foreign countries.
Recent polls indicate potential challenges for Biden, with some showing him trailing Trump in swing states. While the successful UAW strike may provide a boost for Biden, there remains a disconnect between union leaders and rank-and-file members. The white blue-collar population in the Midwest, a foundation of union support, has been gradually moving away from such affiliations. Nevertheless, Biden's consistent efforts to secure union votes could still contribute to securing a second term. Responding to Trump's claims, Biden emphasized the job losses during Trump's term and asserted that investing in electric vehicles would not harm the auto industry, contrary to Trump's assertions.