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Political spotlight intensifies on the UAW strike as both Biden and Trump prepare to visit

"The real challenge is that both (Biden and Trump) should be encouraging a workable contract that keeps America competitive."
Trump, Biden return to campaign trail after holding competing town hall events
Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-25 17:39:10-04

(WXYZ) — Workers at the Stellantis MOPAR parts distribution center in Centerline have mixed feelings about whether President Biden's and former President Trump's visits on Tuesday and Wednesday will have any impact.

UAW member Shaun Hunter said, "(Biden will) be the first president to walk the line, but what does he plan on doing besides that?"

Workers like Hunter say they want real impact from the president's visit.

Matthew Grossmann, a political scientist with Michigan State University said, "It's still out of the norm for a sitting president to actually come and side with a particular labor union in the middle of a strike and a labor dispute. He wants to maintain those connections to the union at a time when the Democratic party is losing support among blue-collar voters."

He said Biden faces potential conflict since his environmental policy pushes for electric vehicle adoption.

"Which often might require a smaller workforce, and a new workforce at different facilities," Grossmann explained.

President Trump is also on his way to metro Detroit. He's scheduled to speak in Clinton Township on Wednesday.

Union president Shawn Fain, last week, denounced Trump's visit. However, some union members say they want to hear what the former president has to say.

Hunter said, "Trump said he was going to cancel that electric car mandate, which would give us job security. So, I'm for that."

Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber said, "It just kind of shows how odd politics have gotten in the last several years that you have both a senior Republican and senior Democrat coming for the same purpose. Ya know, the real challenge is that both of these should be encouraging a workable contract that keeps America competitive."

Whether Biden's or Trump's visit accomplishes that remains to be seen.

Baruah said, "A lot of the demands that the union are asking for, frankly, is a repeat of what got the auto industry in trouble a dozen years ago."

Grossmann said assuming the strike doesn't last too long, it's unlikely to have an impact on the 2024 election.