I wasn't sure at first if Biden should join the UAW picket line or not. But knowing the fascist, indicted former president is showing up in Michigan to speak against the union, it's a good move for Biden to show his support for working people. https://t.co/2gbqyDvgRt
— LeftOfLansing (@LeftOfLansing) September 25, 2023
In my remarks about the UAW strike in last week’s episode (featuring a discussion about the fight for paid family in Michigan with Danielle Atkinson of Mothering Justice), I said it was maybe a good thing that President Biden was thus far choosing to remain out of the fray between the auto union and the Big Three Detroit automakers. And then, after last week’s episode posted, Biden announced he would indeed arrive to join the union strikers this week!
Maybe Biden’s showing up because he’s always declared himself pro-union, or maybe he’s showing up because Trump is arriving in Clinton Township this week to spew his brand of fascism to some former union and non-union workers at Drake Enterprises.
Whatever the reasons, I think it’s a wise move on his part. It paints a contrast of how Biden has always supported unions, and Trump has done everything in his power to weaken unions.
Trump’s not speaking with the UAW in Detroit, which is understandable since UAW President Shawn Fain told Trump he’s not welcome.
It’s not just the UAW who doesn’t want to hear from Trump, other unions have had it with his brand of fake-populism.
United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters General President Mark McManus illustrated exactly how Trump is, and has always been, against the working class:
“When Donald Trump was first elected president, he invited me into the White House during the first days of his administration and promised that he would pass the largest infrastructure bill in generations. He claimed to be a builder, just like us. But after four years, one thing was clear: when it comes to the bread and butter issues our members care about – fair wages, safe job sites, and the ability to retire with the dignity we earned – Donald Trump is just another fraud.”https://michiganadvance.com/2023/09/20/uaw-president-biden-push-back-against-reported-trump-visit-with-striking-michigan-workers/
Trump is a working class fraud, who has never cared one bit about average Americans.
Steven Greenhouse reminded everyone today in The Detroit Free Press how Trump not only rescinded Obama-era protections guaranteeing time-and-a-half overtime pay for millions of workers, but he reversed safety inspections for coal mines, and refused to push for a higher minimum wage.
On top of that, Greenhouse correctly says Trump’s Supreme Court justices all sided with corporations and management over unions:
When nominating U.S. Supreme Court justices, Trump chose people who were far friendlier to corporations than to workers. One of his appointees provided the deciding vote in Janus v. AFSCME — the most important anti-union decision in decades. That decision substantially hurt labor unions and their treasuries by ruling that teachers, police officers and other government employees could opt out of paying any dues whatsoever to the unions that fight for them and win raises for them. That 5-4 decision overturned a unanimous 1977 decision that was a victory for the Detroit teachers’ union, and made sure workers paid their fair share to their union. Trump’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board repeatedly favored corporations over unions, often acting in ways that made it harder for workers to unionize.
Trump’s not here to show solidarity with UAW workers. His goal is to divide them. He’s not going to address the UAW’s main concerns of wages, pensions, a return to cost-of-living pay raises, a four-day work week, and more. Trump’s instead going to focus on the universal move to EV cars, and how it’s “woke” or something like that.
Meanwhile, Trump is continuing his faux-populist shtick as he prepares to run against Biden in the 2024 presidential election. The former president claims to support the union members, but he has urged them to stop paying their union dues as he spins a yarn about UAW leadership “ripping off” members by not condemning the Biden administration’s support for a transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Never mind that none of the strike’s myriad demands include an opposition to EV production; members object to the quality of jobs in EV plants, but not to the concept that we need more environmentally friendly vehicles, and that they should be the ones to build them.
And The Nation’s Dave Zirin says the UAW must show its solidarity against Trump’s fake-populism and pro-fascist movement:
In the face of this, I want to know if the UAW would organize its own spectacle outside the event: a noisy rally protesting the very idea that this billionaire bigot has a place in proximity of the picket line. Fain has understandably kept Biden at arm’s-length as well, but protesting Trump is not about de facto support for the Democrats. It’s a message to the workers—Black, brown, and white—that the union will not be divided, that it knows a class enemy when it sees one, that racism as well as nativism will kill this strike, and that solidarity is the only way to win.
Zirin notes how traditional labor movements historically helped push-back against past fascistic movements across the country, which is why I’m hoping President Biden uses this strike to paint a clear picture of how Trump’s movement is not a movement to strengthen workers.
It’s to debilitate workers.
The President may also want to remind everyone how Trump wanted to the Big Three to move plants out of Michigan to other low wage states, in an effort to keep the Big Three from moving manufacturing to other countries. Trump could’ve showed back in 2016 how he was a true fighter for workers, but he backed-down and told them to move to non-union states where workers make less, and suffer more.
And it might behoove President Biden to remind UAW members not only how Trump turned his back on them, but how he also wants to pass another corporate tax break for his fellow rich and connected friends, as Jonathan Chait reports:
The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump’s campaign brain trust is working on a new economic plan to anchor his campaign. The leading idea is to pass another huge tax cut for the wealthy (a cut in corporate tax rates), paired with a tax increase on the middle class (a 10 percent tariff).
Trump’s brain trust believes current economic conditions indicate the U.S. economy is being harmed by excessively progressive taxes. To be sure, they have consistently believed this for more than 30 years through every conceivable combination of economic circumstances: high inflation, low inflation, recession, boom, war and peace,
There’s also another inconvenience Trump will try to avoid while fighting for additional corporate tax breaks: The Big Three automakers have benefitted from state and federal tax breaks and incentives to build plants here in the United States, which means they should have enough money to pay union workers what they richly deserve, right?
Hence, why you see the corporate media doing everything in its power to downplay the obvious fascistic Christian Nationalist authoritarianism driving Trump’s popularity with The Cult.
Adam Johnson rightly points-out:
GOP strategy of deflecting every Q about UAW strike to “Biden’s radical climate policies” and “China” running out of juice. aside from being a non sequitur that UAW has never once mentioned, it’s gotten repetitive. Need a new thingamajig with which to distract inquiring reporters
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonCHI) September 22, 2023
The corporate media wants voters to pay attention to the horse race nature of the 2024 race, rather than treating it as democracy vs. dictatorship, and management vs. workers. It hopes voters will see very little difference between Biden and Trump, which leads to voter disengagement and participation, and gives us a repeat of Election Night 2016.
For evidence to show what I’m talking about, watch this and try not to lose your mind:
Trump is playing CNN like a fiddle. Here's one of their reporters suggesting he's "pro-worker now" because of his upcoming photo op with striking workers (never mind his embrace of the GOP's anti-union policies) pic.twitter.com/2Hp58kWMW5
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2023
The whole point of Trump’s Michigan Misadventure is to divide the workers. If workers of all races, religions, and creeds stick together, then it means trouble for the millionaire and billionaire class.
And that’s why the corporate media needs us divided.