AP Photo/Alex Brandon
The UAW, which represents almost one million automobile industry workers, announced the endorsement Wednesday at their conference in Washington, D.C., shortly before Biden delivered an address to the conference.
“Rarely, as a union, do you get such a clear choice between two candidates,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in his speech to the conference. In past strikes, Donald Trump “said nothing, did nothing, not a damn thing because he doesn’t care about the American worker,” Fain added.
“We’ve said we’d stand with whoever stood with us in our fight,” Fain continued. “Not because somebody was nice to us … Joe Biden bet on the American worker, while Donald Trump blamed the American worker … So if our endorsements must be earned, Joe Biden has earned it.”
In September of last year, the UAW led a strike against the nation’s “Big Three” unionized auto manufacturers: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. The decision marked the first time in the UAW’s history that the union had called a strike against all three companies at once. The UAW, led by Fain, demanded changes to pay structure, the expansion of negotiated labor contracts to planned electric vehicle factories, and the revival of benefit programs that were revoked in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Biden made history later that month by becoming the first president to join a union picket line at a demonstration in Wayne, Michigan, the site of two major Ford manufacturing plants.
Fain made clear throughout the strike that he had no interest in courting the support of former President Donald Trump. When Trump announced plans to skip an installment of the Republican primary debates to instead deliver a speech at a non-union facility, Fain publicly bashed the former president at the time, and again in his speech on Wednesday.
“Donald Trump is a scab!” Fain declared to cheers from the crowd while announcing the UAW’s endorsement of Biden on Wednesday. “Donald Trump is a billionaire, and that’s who he represents. If Donald Trump ever worked in an auto plant, he wouldn’t be a UAW member, he’d be a company man trying to squeeze the American worker.”