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Biden Pickets the Car Companies

Joe Biden claims he is for the working man and woman. Yesterday, he demonstrated it by joining striking UAW workers in Detroit. He said he would be the most pro-union president in history and he probably is. No sitting president has ever joined a picket line before. The other contender for most pro-union president in history is Franklin D. Roosevelt, but he would never have gone so far as to join a labor action. He preferred to work his magic behind the scenes.

Biden stood on a wooden platform and used a bullhorn to tell the union members that because the car companies were making record profits, they deserved a big raise for their role in making those profits possible through their hard work. He said: "You deserve what you've earned. And you deserve a whole hell of a lot more than you're getting paid now." The crowd was largely appreciative. So was UAW president Shawn Fain, who was with Biden.

This move could also be good politics. Democrats are having a lot of problems with blue-collar workers, some of whom are union members. Having Biden make it clear that he is pro-union could make some union members who otherwise like Donald Trump have second thoughts. On the one hand, they like Trump's macho style, but on the other, having a president who is clearly pro-union is also something to consider. Biden is also keenly aware that Michigan is a key swing state and his showing up there to support workers in the state will probably be remembered, at least for a while.

However, the situation is more complicated than it at first appears. The companies are arguing that if they pay the union workers more, they will have less money to invest in new plants making electric cars, something Biden also wants. Currently, most electric cars are made in nonunion factories. By siding with the unions and protecting jobs in factories making gasoline-powered cars, Biden could get blowback from environmentalists who prefer that those factories go away as soon as possible. They don't care where electric cars are made or by whom as long as they are made. It does put Biden in a squeeze.

Donald Trump will address an invite-only group of current and retired UAW workers at a non-union factory tonight. He is hoping that he can make himself, rather than the Republican debate, the story of the day. Of course, union members will be listening closely to what he says and looking to see whose side he seems to be on. If the stories Thursday are "Biden supports workers; Trump supports the theory that he won in 2020," that may not help Trump much with union members. (V)

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