The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

United Auto Workers strike continues with Biden’s support

BUILDING THE FUTURE. President Joe Biden’s official accounts include a Sept. 26 post from the picket line in Detroit: “I want hardworking men and women like the ones I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with today building the economy of the future.” (Image from @POTUS on Instagram)

On Sept. 14, over 34,000 Union of Auto Workers members from Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis began a strike in metro Detroit that could last into November.

US history teacher Jon Peterson, who supports the strike, said, “A lot of these workers took a real pay cut to keep those companies afloat.” He believes a pay increase will help these workers get back on their feet.

In 2019, the UAW organized a nationwide strike lasting 40 days against General Motors, with all 48,000 workers participating. Although it’s not the first of its kind, the ongoing strike is unique, as not every worker is on the picket line as in a traditional strike. Instead, the UAW has targeted specific sites across all three companies to “achieve minimum loss of work and maximum pain on companies,” as the Detroit Free Press reported.

The UAW’s website outlined their primary objectives for the strike as improving wages, increasing retirement pay and benefits, expanding paid time off, and abolishing the tiered system that ranks works. Strike employees receive $500 per week in strike aid, funded by UAW member dues.

Over the course of the last four years, the UAW has requested several pay upgrades. The most recent proposal was a 36% increase, down from the initial ask of 46%. However, Ford and General Motors are only willing to raise their offer by 20%, whereas Stellantis has agreed to a 17.5% increase. Despite the decreased proposal, the Big Three are still unwilling to settle.

The strike has received more national attention due to emerging presidential campaigns for the 2024 election. On Sept. 26, President Joe Biden joined UAW on picket lines in support of the workers’ requests, affirming his stance through a megaphone talk. “You deserve the significant raise you all deserve,” he said.

Biden made his appearance one day before former president Donald Trump was scheduled to visit the picket line. Trump later said, “I stand with the Union of Auto Workers and those who want to make America great again and I always will.”

Sophomore Carsten Bauer supports the movement to get people the pay they deserve but thought Biden’s attendance was a promotion of his own presidential campaign. “I think that was definitely a factor but I think it was mainly to support the people so they would support him.”

According to Peterson, Biden’s decision to visit the picket lines was wise, unlike Trump’s plan to visit several non-unionized construction plants. “Michigan is a very, very important voting block. In 2016, Democrats lost Michigan for the first time since 1988, as Trump defeated Clinton in Michigan, so Biden wanted to keep Michigan strong.”

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Allan Wang
Allan Wang, Staff Writer
My name is Allan Wang (he/him). I work as a Staff Writer for The Rubicon, RubicOnline and Ibid yearbook. At school, I’m involved in tennis, fencing, and trap shooting. I love to play those sports and to play games. I can be reached at [email protected]

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