Labor Biden, the first US president to visit a picket of strikers

For the first time in the History of the United States, the head of State and Government of that country has visited a picket line of striking workers

Labor Biden, the first US president to visit a picket of strikers

For the first time in the History of the United States, the head of State and Government of that country has visited a picket line of striking workers. Joe Biden traveled to Detroit today, where he met with members of the United Motor Workers (UAW) union, who have been on strike for more than a week in certain factories of the 'big three' automobile manufacturers. automobiles from the United States: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (which includes the former Chrysler and is actually a European company, a consequence of the merger of the Italian Fiat and the French GPA a year and a half ago).

Joe Biden's visit has political significance. Today is the. Tomorrow, it will be his predecessor, and main rival in next year's election, Donald Trump, who will give a rally to automotive industry employees in Detroit. Trump, who belongs to the big business party, the Republican, and who during his presidency was completely opposed to raising the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (which has been frozen for fourteen years), has a considerable pull among industrial workers. In 2016, Trump barely beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan, the state where Detroit is located, by 0.23% of the vote, which is just 10.7'04 ballots. Four years later, Biden won by 2.78%, that is, 154,188 votes.

Therefore, Michigan is a territory that can decide who will live in the White House until 2028. And Biden, famous for his slow reaction, has moved quickly this time. The president declared at the picket through a loudspeaker that "you deserve the important increase that you demand", and encouraged those attending to continue.

Both Biden and Trump culturally fit the mold of the Detroit auto worker. They are both elderly white men, with a certain conservative image far removed from the 'culture wars' that scare this group and that sank Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016 (aggravated by the fact that she is a woman). Biden has been close to unions all his life, while Trump rejects the 'woke' agenda much more intensely than the president and, in addition, opposes electric cars - the main threat of the Big Three - and has promised that, If he wins the elections, he will impose 10% tariffs on the importation of foreign cars into the US.

The UAW, which has not asked to vote for any of the candidates in the 2024 elections, has launched a historic strike, carrying out strikes for the first time in its history in factories of the three companies simultaneously. The action is a bet by the new president of the union, Shawn Fain, and the initial demands fundamentally included an immediate salary increase of 26% and another 40% in the next four years; the 32-hour work day; and the reinstatement of the pension and health plans prior to the bailout of General Motors (GM) and Chrysler by the governments of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. With these measures, according to the UAW, the 145,000 workers at the three companies will regain purchasing power after a decade and a half of wage freezes and benefit cuts, while the companies received tens of billions of dollars in subsidies. Detroit's 'big three' alone account for 1.5% of the US GDP.

In 2022, the CEO of Stellantis earned 365 times what the average company employee; that of General Motors, 361 times; and Ford's, 281, despite the fact that, although all three companies have profits, the stock market value of GM and Ford is the same - without discounting inflation - as it was two decades ago. Chrysler has only existed as a brand since 1999, when it was bought by Germany's Daimler Benz, and has changed hands four more times since then.

Paradoxically, the strike benefits Tesla and the other electric vehicle manufacturers, which are the biggest rivals of the 'big three' and are also benefiting from the energy transition launched by Joe Biden himself. The reason is that American electric car companies are recently created, and do not allow their workers to join unions, unlike Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Despite its massive investments in electric vehicles, GM's market share in that segment is 7%, and Ford's is 6%, while Tesla has 60%. The strike will reduce their financial margin to carry out the transition and, in exchange, will give free rein to Tesla and other companies such as Rivlan, Lucid, Proterra, declared enemies of the unions.