The latest from President Biden:
Tuesday, I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.
It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 22, 2023
This is good. A couple of days ago, Paul Waldman wrote at MSNBC that to stop Trump’s “union stunt” in its tracks, that’s just what the President should do. Trump, you probably heard, is planning to address the strikers on Wednesday during the second Republican Party presidential debate.
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain had asked the President to come and stand with the workers on the picket line earlier today. (Fain is a French surname, but every time I hear his name i think of Sinn Féin, the Irish political party, pronounced Shin Fain. But I guess he’s not Irish.) Politico:
The announcement of his trip was seen as a seismic moment within certain segments of the labor community. “Pretty hard-core,” said one union adviser, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Trump’s plans for Wednesday seem a bit vague, but I understand he will speak to a “room” of auto workers. Some news stories call it a “rally.” He has no plans to visit the picket lines at this time. And he was not invited to do so by Shawn Fain.
Shawn Fain, the UAW president who has previously said that a second Trump presidency would be a “disaster,” seemed to argue against Trump’s efforts.
“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class.”
Dave Green, a UAW regional director in Ohio and Indiana, said the former president’s actions during his time in office give him “zero credibility” with organized labor now, adding that he doesn’t see a way the UAW would ever endorse Trump.
“His only intention here is to try and get votes for himself. And also divide our members against each other using political rhetoric,” Green told The AP on Monday.
The first thing Trump said about the strike is that “The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump.” This is the leadership the union members elected. Trump’s argument is that the auto workers will soon all lose their jobs because electric cars will be made in China. I hope Biden explains why that’s not going to happen.
See also Trump’s Anti-Worker Record; Trump says he always had autoworkers’ backs. Union leaders say his first-term record shows otherwise; and (from 2020) The Trump administration’s attacks on workplace union voting rights forewarned of the broader threats to voting rights in the upcoming election.
Other Republicans aren’t exactly meeting the moment, either.
“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike. He said, you strike, you’re fired. Simple concept to me,” Scott said at the Iowa event. “To the extent that we can use that once again, absolutely.”
The strike will soon expand to 38 locations in 20 states.
In other news: There are some things you can count on to happen regularly. Flowers bloom in the spring. The Old Faithful geyser keeps doing its geyser thing. Beer sales spike before the Super Bowl. Dogs bark at squirrels.
And Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is suspected of corruption. This seems to happen regularly. There’s always somethng with Menendez. But I think they’ve got him this time. The governor of New Jersey, also a Democrat, wants Menendez to resign. Chuck Schuner does not, for some reason. I’d rather he were out of the Senate, frankly.