WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan on Thursday to meet with United Auto Workers members at an event at a Detroit-area union hall, a campaign official told Reuters.
The trip to the battleground state comes a week after the UAW endorsed Biden’s reelection, with union president Shawn Fain delivering a fiery speech in Washington that was also harshly critical of Republican former president and likely Biden election rival Donald Trump.
Fain cited Biden’s pro-union record and his decision to become the first president to join a union picket line last year during a successful autoworkers strike for higher pay and noted Trump had not done the same during a 2019 strike against General Motors.
“Instead of talking trash about our union, Joe Biden stood with us,” Fain said. Fain and Biden previously had sharp differences over electric vehicle policy, and the endorsement could be a strong boost to Biden in Michigan and other manufacturing states.
Last week, Reuters reported that Biden was planning a possible trip to Michigan involving UAW meetings.
Fain said in his speech that Biden had a history of serving the working class, while Trump “stands against everything we stand for,” citing among other things Trump’s appearance at a non-union hall during the autoworkers strike. He called Trump an anti-union “scab.”
Trump reacted furiously on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, calling Fain a “stiff” and a “dope”, and urging auto workers to vote for him and not Biden in November. Trump has also harshly criticized Biden’s electric vehicle policies.
Biden has won endorsements from most of the nation’s major labor unions. But the UAW endorsement took longer, despite a full-court press that included Biden joining the striking workers.
One exception is the 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is set to meet with Trump on Wednesday in Washington as it considers its endorsement. The Teamsters union backed Biden in 2020.
Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien