Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Factory Workers at UAW Convention

By Jeffrey Bonior
Jan 24 2024 |
President Biden, pictured in December 2023 at the White House. White House on Flickr

With former President Trump likely to be the GOP nominee for president, the autoworkers union offered its endorsement of the current president on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden reaffirmed his support for America’s manufacturing workers on Wednesday in a speech at the United Auto Workers (UAW) political convention in Washington, D.C.

Biden received the endorsement of the 380,000-member union earlier in the day, and used his speech to emphasize the importance of manufacturing in the United States.

“The auto future of the world will be Made in America,” Biden said to the gathering of auto workers on the final day of the UAW convention. “We build in America, and we buy American.”

But Biden also used his remarks to argue that he’s the right candidate for working people in 2024. Biden painted a comparison of his support for factory workers to former President Donald Trump, who is highly likely to be the Republican nominee, setting up a rematch of the 2020 campaign.

The UAW’s backing is an important step for Biden in making his case to voters, and for his part, President Shawn Fain didn’t mince words when it came to explaining why the union is going with Biden.

“Donald Trump is a scab,” Fain said. “Donald Trump is a billionaire and that’s who he represents.”

Nevertheless, working class voters helped propel Trump to the White House in 2016, and he’s likely to ask for their vote once again, making Biden’s outreach to them all the more important.

Biden, who bills himself as “the most pro-union president in history,” was the first sitting president to walk a picket line when he joined striking UAW workers last fall at a General Motors parts distribution warehouse in a Detroit suburb. Trump, who also has courted factory workers for their vote, met with workers at a non-union facility.

“I kept my commitment to be the most pro-union president ever,” Biden said. “Let me just say, I’m honored you have my back and I have yours. That’s the deal. It comes down to seeing the world the same way.

“If I’m going to be in a fight, I want to be in the fight with you, UAW. And we have a big fight in front of us.”

Biden thanked UAW members for their leadership and sacrifices in building iconic companies leading to record profits and benefits to America’s workforce. He emphasized the importance of American-made products and the job creation that is a result of products being made here at home.

Biden also spoke of investments in U.S. manufacturing, jobs, and infrastructure.

“Tens of thousands of auto jobs were lost nationwide through Trump’s presidency,” Biden said. “During my presidency, we’ve opened 20 auto factories and more to come. We’ve created more than 250,000 auto jobs all across America.

“I’ve always believed that the union movement in America is important because it produces the best-skilled workers in the world. That’s what happens. It’s good for everybody. It’s good for companies. It increases the quality of the job, the quality of the product. It’s good for economic growth.”

Biden also spoke of important accomplishments during his administration including the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which will allow for a much smoother transition to electric vehicle production and sales. He also touted the CHIPS and Science Act, which has set the groundwork for building vital semiconductor chips in the United States, with an investment of $50 billion in domestic chip manufacturing.

Biden again drew a stark contrast between himself and Trump, saying “the previous administration was content to sit on the sidelines and let China take all of the jobs, but I won’t let that happen.

“By the way, the last guy said he’s looking for a recession because he does not want to be the next Herbert Hoover. He’s already Herbert Hoover. He’s the only president other than Herbert Hoover who lost jobs when he was president.”

Click here to watch Biden’s remarks.