Sep 16, 2023 - Economy

Fetterman joins striking UAW workers in Michigan

Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman (D) joined United Auto Workers members on the picket line Saturday after the union launched an unprecedented strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis.

Driving the news: "Hold that line, @UAW ! On my way to join you now," the Democrat wrote on social media Saturday as union leaders and the Big Three automakers were set to resume contract negotiations.

Why it matters: The Detroit Three automakers collectively have about 150,000 UAW-represented employees at dozens of factories in the U.S., making popular vehicles like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Jeep Wrangler.

State of play: Fetterman's show of solidarity comes a day after President Biden said he is dispatching Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit to help reach a settlement to the walkout that began at midnight Friday.

  • Biden, who describes himself as the "most pro-union president ever," seemed to put his thumb on the scale in favor of the United Auto Workers, saying, "Auto companies have seen record profits…they have not been shared fairly with workers," according to Axios' Joann Muller.

Former President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday morning urging the Big Three automakers to "do right" by their workers.

  • "Fourteen years ago, when the big three automakers were struggling to stay afloat, my administration and the American people stepped in to support them. So did the auto workers in the UAW who sacrificed pay and benefits to help get the companies back on their feet," the former president said in a statement Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.
  • "Now that our carmakers are enjoying robust profits, it's time to do right by those same workers so the industry can emerge more united and competitive than ever," he continued.

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