The president spoke at General Motor's Willow Run Redistribution Center in Wayne, Michigan on Tuesday, telling members that they deserved a "significant raise."
Addressing the crowd with a bullhorn, Biden said the workers “saved the automobile industry back in 2008 and before” and have made a lot of sacrifices, particularly in times when the “companies were in trouble."
"And now they’re doing incredibly well, and guess what, you should be doing incredibly well, too," he said, adding, "You deserve what you've earned and you've earned a hell of a lot more than you get paid now."
Biden joins picket line
Biden also noted his milestone as the first sitting president to join a picket line, stating: “I’ve marched a lot of UAW Picket lines when I was a senator, since 1973, but I’ll tell you what, this is the first time I’ve ever done it as the President."
The UAW is asking for a wage increase of 36 percent over the next four to five years in compensation for years of stagnant wages and record company profits. As assembly line workers are difficult to replace, a strike could deal a large blow to the automotive industry.
The UAW endorsed Biden during the 2020 presidential election, but has not since revealed who they are backing for the 2024 race. The union's president, Shawn Fain, previously said that the union stands by withholding the endorsement for the time being.
Today, Fain said that "our president has chosen to stand up for economic and social justice."
"CEOs try to justify a system where they take all the profit and workers are left to fight for the scraps and live paycheck to paycheck. That's got to end," he continued. "These CEOs sitting in their office, they make the decisions, but we make the product. We do the heavy lifting, we do the real work. The economy is of our making."
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