Seven Democratic presidential candidates have shown up at picket lines over the last nine days to express their support for members of the United Auto Workers union on strike against General Motors.
Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have visited striking workers in Kansas, Ohio, Texas and Michigan.
Biden took to the picket line Sunday in Kansas City, telling union workers: “Hi folks, I am Joe Biden and I am the UAW.”
Today, I proudly stood alongside @UAW members on strike in Kansas City as they fight for a fair contract. Everything that defines a middle class life is because of unions fighting for worker protections. I stand with you, and America stands with you. pic.twitter.com/5tejdcZXnJ
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 22, 2019
Klobuchar stopped to bring union workers donuts Thursday in Detroit during her “Blue Wall Tour.”
“At the UAW strike in Detroit. An auto worker here has been at this picket line every day — and she has lost her voice,” Klobuchar tweeted. “I let her know that I am here to be a voice for her #UnionStrong #StandwithUS.”
Klobuchar later went on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell to talk about GM and her tour of traditionally Democratic states that voted in 2016 for Republican President Donald Trump.
“There has to be more balance here in our economy so everyone will share in the prosperity, and that is something Donald Trump has not delivered for these people that he made all these promises to,” said Klobuchar, on MSNBC. “All he’s done lately when it comes to the economy is whine. And people don’t want a whiner in the White House. They want someone that’s going to bring people together, change the tide and move this country forward. That’s where I come in and what I’ve been talking about since the moment I announced [my candidacy for president] in the middle of that blizzard.”
.@amyklobuchar gives donuts to and chats with striking @UAW workers in Detroit on Thursday, telling them "you guys deserve a good wage" and that "you work hard" and she stands with them. @leonardnfleming @detroitnews #2020Election pic.twitter.com/5Mr0VMbveq
— Leonard N. Fleming (@leonardnfleming) September 19, 2019
She later told CNN’s Anderson Cooper she chose to visit Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin on her “Blue Wall Tour” because those are the states Trump “shouldn’t have won, but he did.”
“And they came roaring back in 2018, the election of Conor Lamb in western Pennsylvania, the election of Democratic governors in Wisconsin and Michigan,” Klobuchar said. “And that’s because candidates were put forward that fit their districts or their state and they were able to win and win big.”
Tim Ryan spent two days on the UAW picket lines in Ohio and Michigan, telling union members the Democratic Party needs to become the party of workers again.
I’m proud to say I spent two days on the @UAW picket line in Ohio and Michigan. We need to become the party of workers again. I will make sure that happens as the Democratic nominee and as President. #StandWithUShttps://t.co/ZZHS1aY3u2 pic.twitter.com/9lPC1CSQpZ
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) September 20, 2019
“One of the things that General Motors is trying to do is they have temporary workers that make about $15 an hour, about half of what the normal worker on the floor is making,” Ryan said in a video, after leaving Toledo, Ohio. “Several of the people said there are temp workers who have been here four or five years. So, [GM is] literally just trying to squeeze the wage down, keep these temp workers from getting into the stream of the union contract and eventually getting up to the $30 an hour.”
He said CEOs are making $281 for every $1 on the factory floor, and large companies are shipping jobs out of the country after the auto bailout and corporate tax cuts.
General Motors received $50 billion from the federal government in 2009 following the financial crisis. The company has since bounced back, making more than $11 billion in profits last year.
“This is not what the American taxpayer had in mind when we did the auto rescue package,” Ryan said.
Warren joined the strike Sunday in Detroit, telling workers GM should be held accountable for their actions.
The workers of @UAW are standing up for good benefits and fair wages—and they're fighting for all of us. When unions win, every worker wins. I'm proud to stand with them. #StandWithUS https://t.co/i5AjKFs8bC
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 23, 2019
“GM made billions of dollars in profits last year. GM is demonstrating that it has no loyalty to the workers of America or to the people of America,” Warren said, in a video. “Their only loyalty is to their own bottom line. And if they can save a nickel, they will do it. Well, the workers of the UAW are here to say no more.”
“They want a contract here. They want a fair wage. They want benefits. They want what it takes to be a part of America’s middle class,” Warren said. “And they want the same for themselves and for temporary workers. Everyone deserves a living wage in this country. When unions win, all American workers win. Let’s be clear, unions built America’s middle class and unions will rebuild America’s middle class.”
O’Rourke was on the picket line with UAW workers in West Chester, Ohio Tuesday morning.
“We’ve heard from people who had scheduled surgeries that had been cancelled, folks trying to pick up their insulin to treat their diabetes who are confused about whether they are going to be able to do that,” O’Rourke said in a video he shared on Twitter. “GM has to account for the fact that all of us, including UAW members who work in these plants invested in GM’s success, brought GM back from the brink of disaster, and maybe death as a corporation. And given the investment we’ve made, now that GM is making $8 billion in profits, now that GM is paying $0 in taxes, it’s time for them to invest in these employees who built the success of this company in the first place. It’s the right thing to do.”
— Abe Rakov (@AbeRakov) September 24, 2019
Sanders joined UAW workers in Detroit Wednesday morning, where he urged General Motors to sit down and negotiate a UAW contract that “is fair for the working people of this company.”
“I’m here today to thank you for having the courage to stand up to corporate greed,” Sanders said.
— Malachi Barrett (@PolarBarrett) September 25, 2019
Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a former union side labor lawyer, joined UAW workers at the picket line in Dallas, Texas Thursday afternoon.
“We are at the location of the most productive, most profitable GM plant in the world. And it ain’t because of the CEOs. It ain’t because of that. It’s because of each and every one of you,” Bullock told the workers. “You’re not just fighting for yourselves, you’re fighting for those 800 contract workers that ought to have a right to organize, collectively bargain and be part of your union and get a fair salary as well.”
“You’ve already sacrificed. You’ve sacrificed time and time again,” Bullock said. “When you look at auto workers in the last 20 years they have actually had a pay decrease. You paid to keep this company alive.”
It’s never been more important that we fight alongside our workers for better pay, benefits, and job security.
I've fought for unions my whole life, and I'll be your voice in the White House. pic.twitter.com/jDCUqlz9bA
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) September 26, 2019
By Paige Godden