UAW leader condemns Trump ahead of Michigan visit during union strike

United Auto Workers (UAW) President, Shawn Fain addresses picketing UAW members at a General Motors Service Parts Operations plant in Belleville, Michigan, on September 26, 2023, as US President Joe Biden joined the employees. 

Jim Watson | Afp | Getty Images

DETROIT – United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain doubled down on his criticism of former President Donald Trump forward of the Republican presidential frontrunner’s rally Wednesday night time at an auto elements provider in Michigan.

During nationwide media interviews following Fain’s look with President Joe Biden on a UAW picket line Tuesday afternoon in suburban Detroit, the outspoken union chief denounced Trump’s monitor report with automotive unions. He additionally criticized the truth that Trump’s Wednesday go to can be at a nonunion firm referred to as Drake Enterprises.

“I find a pathetic irony that the former president is going to hold a rally for union members at a nonunion business,” Fain mentioned in an interview Tuesday night on CNN. “All you have to do is look at his track record — his track record speaks for itself.”

When requested if he would meet with Trump throughout his journey, Fain mentioned he sees “no point” in doing so “because I don’t think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for. He serves a billionaire class and that’s what’s wrong with this country.”

In response to Fain’s feedback, a Trump spokesman typically criticized the “political leadership of some of the labor unions and the working middle class employees that they purport to represent.”

“President Trump will be in Michigan talking with union workers and ensuring American jobs are protected. He has always been on the side of American workers and will do everything in his power to be their voice as Crooked Joe Biden is on the side of our foreign adversaries,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung mentioned in an emailed assertion.

Trump not too long ago accused UAW leaders of failing their members. He has additionally closely criticized Biden for the timing of his go to to Michigan, in addition to the present administration’s help of electrical automobiles (EVs).

“Crooked Joe Biden had no intention of going to visit the United Autoworkers, until I announced that I would be heading to Michigan to be with them, & help then out. Actually, Crooked Joe sold them down the river with his ridiculous all Electric Car Hoax,” Trump posted early Saturday on his social media platform Truth Social.

Biden and Trump visited the presidential swing state amid a UAW strike in opposition to General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis, after the edges failed to succeed in new contracts by Sept. 14. The strikes at the moment contain about 18,300 employees, or 12.5%, of the UAW’s 146,000 members with the automakers.

No UAW endorsement

In the Saturday submit, Trump, who has gained the help of many blue-collar employees who helped him win the presidency in 2016, additionally urged the UAW to endorse him, claiming “autoworkers are ‘toast’” if they do not.

Though Fain has condemned Trump and voiced help for Biden throughout his picket-line go to Tuesday, UAW is withholding an endorsement within the 2024 presidential election. Fain has mentioned the union is doing so till the UAW’s issues in regards to the auto business’s transition to EVs are addressed.

“Our focus right now is 100% on getting a great agreement for our members,” Fain told CNN. “Endorsements and things like that, we’ll do those things at the appropriate time … there’s still work to be done.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Warren, Michigan, U.S., October 1, 2022. 

Dieu-nalio Chery | Reutersm

The UAW for several years has been concerned about how to transition traditional auto workers into new jobs for EVs. A 2018 study by the union found mass adoption of EVs could cost the UAW 35,000 jobs. However, the union has more recently said that number could be lower.

Fain, on the picket line with Biden at the Willow Run Redistribution Center, called the president joining the striking workers a “historic moment.” But he did not officially endorse the commander-in-chief for next year’s presidential election.

Fain invited Biden to join the UAW picket lines days after Trump announced he would skip the second GOP debate to hold a rally in Macomb County, Michigan, where a large contingent of blue-collar autoworkers live.

UAW is not affiliated with Trump’s Wednesday rally. But UAW members have previously attended and participated in Trump’s events in Michigan.

In 2016, when the union endorsed Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, UAW said about one in four of its 412,000 members supported Trump, according to an internal survey by the union.

UAW followed Fain’s comments about Trump by releasing an online video criticizing plant closures, together with GM’s resolution 4 years in the past to shutter its Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio. The video included a 2017 clip of Trump telling space residents that jobs misplaced within the area had been “all coming back.”

“I’ll tell you what, I rode through your beautiful roads coming up from the airport, and I was looking at some of those big, once-incredible job producing factories. My wife, Melania, said ‘What happened?’ I said ‘Those jobs have left Ohio,’” Trump mentioned on July 25, 2017. “They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Coming back. Don’t move. Don’t sell your house. Don’t sell your house.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks subsequent to Lordstown Motors workers Michael Fabian and Rich Schmidt whereas inspecting the Lordstown Motors 2021 endurance truck, an electrical pickup truck, on the South Lawn on the White House in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

The feedback got here earlier than GM’s closure of the plant, which Trump criticized publicly. He demanded GM CEO Mary Barra “sell it or do something quickly.”

GM offered the plant to EV startup Lordstown Motors, a call Trump hailed. However, the corporate was not profitable and filed for chapter in June.

The location of Trump’s Wednesday go to to Drake Enterprises “was chosen to host the former president because of its entrepreneurial spirit and its exposure to the gasoline engine business,” a co-owner of the corporate, which employs roughly 125 folks, advised Crain’s Detroit Business.

The rally is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET, an hour earlier than the second GOP debate is scheduled to begin. Trump additionally skipped the primary GOP debate final month, opting as an alternative to launch a prerecorded interview on-line with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.