The United Auto Workers union’s leader endorsed U.S. President Joe Biden’s reelection bid on Wednesday with fiery speech at a legislative conference that was also harshly critical of Republican former President Donald Trump.
“Instead of talking trash about our union, Joe Biden stood with us,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a full-throated endorsement of Biden, citing his pro-union record and decision to become the first president to join a union picket line.
Fain heaped criticism on Trump, citing his failure to persuade General Motors to keep an assembly plant open in Ohio and his appearance at a non-union hall during last year’s strike, and called him a “scab.”
“Donald Trump stands against everything we stand for as a society,” Fain said.
Biden, a Democrat, has already pocketed endorsements from most of the nation’s major labor unions. But the seal of approval from the autoworkers has taken much longer despite a full-court press that included Biden joining striking workers when they targeted the Detroit Three automakers in September.
The UAW’s endorsement has outsize political implications because of its influence in Michigan, a key battleground state in the 2024 presidential race.
Biden, a Democrat, narrowly won the state in 2020.
Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said: “President Trump represents the working men and women of America, and his America First policies helped protect American jobs from being either shipped away or terminated.”
The UAW won record-setting contracts, including a 25% increase in base wages with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Fain has praised Biden administration officials for helping win those contracts and ensure battery plant workers get higher wages.
In May, Fain said the union was not ready to endorse Biden for a second four-year term, citing concerns about the president’s electric vehicle policies.