President Joe Biden is pitching an economic populist message to America’s working and middle class, cutting a campaign ad that goes after Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) for their attacks on union workers.
Currently, thousands of members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) are striking against General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis across multiple states in the hopes of securing wage hikes to keep up with inflation under Biden as well as commitments that their jobs will not be eliminated by the president’s push to rapidly mandate electric vehicle (EV) production.
As Breitbart News Economics Editor John Carney has described, auto workers are effectively on strike to counter “Bidenomics” and “Bidenflation” — leaving Republicans in a position to choose: Do they side with auto workers crippled by the Biden economy, or automaker executives with deep ties to Washington, DC, who have increased their salaries significantly in the last decade?
Unlike the rest of the Republican presidential field, Haley and Scott have made seemingly direct attacks on union workers amid the UAW strike.
Their attacks have prompted Biden to cut a campaign ad that portrays him as a defender of America’s workforce against corporate Republicans, Haley and Scott in this scenario, eager to side with profit-driven executives.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 22, 2023
Last week, Haley defended automakers against the striking auto workers on Fox News.
“When you have the most pro-union president and he touts that he is emboldening the unions, this is what you get and I’ll tell you who pays for it is the taxpayers,” Haley said of the UAW strike, before alleging that offering raises to the auto workers “is going to cause things to go up.”
“When you have a president that is constantly saying, ‘Go union, go union!’ this is what you get, the unions get emboldened and then they start asking for things that companies have a tough time doing,” Haley said:
I don’t think government should get involved in this, these are private sector matters but I do think the tone of how a president talks about unions and how a president emboldens them does play a role in this and we’re seeing what Biden has done, play a role in this. [Emphasis added]
Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, went on to tout herself as a “union-buster” when she was governor of South Carolina.
“I didn’t want to bring in companies that were unionized simply because I didn’t want to have that change the environment in our state,” Haley said. “We very much watched out for workers but the way we watched out for workers is we didn’t encourage middlemen between companies and their workers.”
I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike. You strike, you’re fired. A simple concept to me. To the extent that we can use that once again, absolutely. [Emphasis added]
Since Scott’s remarks, the UAW has filed a formal complaint against him, alleging he violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by threatening auto workers with employment termination despite their lawful right to strike under labor law.
“Within the past six months, the employer has interfered with, restrained, or coerced employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act,” the complaint states. “On Monday, September 18, 2023, Tim Scott threatened employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity by publicly responding to a question about striking workers as follows: ‘You strike, you’re fired.’”
Opposite Haley and Scott, Republican presidential hopefuls former President Donald Trump, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have defended the striking auto workers against Biden’s green energy agenda.
“This is not just about wages,” Burgum said of the UAW strike. “This is about a battle about the future of American transportation and the union workers are going ‘Wow, if we’re going to switch to all EVs, we’re going to have less jobs … we’re going to be dependent on China for our transportation needs.’ They understand what’s happening.”
Similarly, Pence said Biden’s EV mandates are driving the UAW strike:
I guarantee you that one of the things that’s driving that strike is that Bidenomics and their green energy, electric vehicle agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit, and American auto workers know it. [Emphasis added]
This drive toward electric vehicles, driving people away from gasoline-powered vehicles, any auto worker that’s paying attention would know that’s not in their long-term interest. [Emphasis added]
Trump is so heavily on the side of striking auto workers that he is the only Republican presidential candidate to plan a visit to Michigan to speak to those on the picket line — an unprecedented move for a GOP hopeful in recent history.
The Republican candidate running against Biden will need to secure significant support for non-college-educated white voters — tens of millions of whom are not registered to vote — in auto and energy industry swing states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to overcome Democrats.
In 2016, union workers helped propel Trump and his nationalist-populist agenda to the White House — scoring the most support among union households for any Republican presidential candidate since former President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
In 2020, Biden helped widen that gap by taking 57 percent of union households compared to Trump’s 40 percent.