DETROIT (NewsNation) — The top 2024 presidential candidates are heading to the picket lines this week in Michigan, throwing their support behind United Auto Workers members as they continue to strike against Detroit’s “Big Three” in 20 different states across the nation.
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make back-to-back visits to Michigan this week, trying to win over union voters.
Trump is no stranger to the “art of the deal,” while Biden has branded himself the most pro-union president in American history.
“They’re both very important people, so that would be great to have them on the picket line. We need all the support we can get right now,” UAW member Tiffany Kerr told NewsNation.
Union members anticipate the politicians’ visits as the strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis has no end in sight.
Trump is set to speak to union workers near Detroit on Wednesday, skipping the second Republican primary debate in California.
“The UAW has been very good to me. The members have been very good from the standpoint of voting,” Trump said.
After Trump announced his plan to visit the UAW workers, the Biden administration followed suit.
It was previously stated White House advisor Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su would arrive in Michigan to aid in reaching a resolution with the automakers last week, but that visit was ultimately canceled.
Now, Biden is scheduled to arrive in Michigan on Tuesday — one day before Trump.
“Let’s be clear. No one wants a strike. Say it again. No one wants a strike,” Biden said.
Ford UAW representative Michael Marzillo said union members have mixed feelings about Biden and Trump coming to Michigan.
“Joe Biden coming out as a first-time-ever president — that’s big, a huge plus. But Trump coming out? Hmm. Shouldn’t he be worried about his criminal cases coming up?” Marzillo said.
On Truth Social, Trump accused Biden of having no intentions of going to visit UAW members until the former president announced his plans to travel to Michigan.
Presidential hopeful and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy echoed Trump’s remarks, calling Biden’s visit to Michigan a “smokescreen to deflect reality,” adding, “The picket line we need is in D.C., not Detroit.”
However, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended Biden’s visit, saying the president is deeply on the workers’ side.
“He is proud of being the most pro-union, pro-worker president, not only compared to the Trump administration, with its anti-union policies, but really compared to any modern president,” Buttigieg said.
UAW President Shawn Fain is withholding the union’s endorsement for the 2024 presidential election, saying he needs to see action rather than words.