United Auto Workers leader Shawn Fain and U.S. President Joe Biden

United Auto Workers leader Shawn Fain and U.S. President Joe Biden appear at a union conference at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C., on January 24, 2024.

(Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

'Donald Trump Is a Scab': UAW Endorses Joe Biden for President

"Rarely as a union do you get so clear of a choice between two candidates," said UAW president Shawn Fain. "Donald Trump is a billionaire, and that's who he represents."

After a monthslong delay partly related to electric vehicle policy, the United Auto Workers on Wednesday endorsed Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden, who is seeking reelection in November.

The announcement came on the final day of a UAW conference in Washington, D.C., and on the heels of an unsanctioned primary in New Hampshire—which Biden won as a write-in candidate, as he did not appear on the ballot due to a dispute between state leaders and the Democratic National Committee.

After a victory in the GOP's Iowa caucuses earlier this month, former President Donald Trump also won in New Hampshire on Tuesday, setting up a likely rematch between him and Biden later this year—despite the Republican's legal issues, some of which stem from his efforts to overturn his 2020 loss.

"We can stand up and elect someone who stands with us and supports our cause. Or we can elect someone who will divide us and fight us every step of the way."

Confirming the endorsement in a Wednesday speech, UAW president Shawn Fain stressed the differences between Trump and Biden—who in September became the first sitting president to stand with strikers on a picket line when he joined UAW members during their battle with the Big Three automakers, just months after working with Congress to thwart a threatened rail strike.

"This November, we can stand up and elect someone who stands with us and supports our cause. Or we can elect someone who will divide us and fight us every step of the way," said Fain. "That's what this choice is about. The question is, who do we want in that office to give us the best shot of winning? Who gives us the best shot of organizing? Who gives us the best shot of negotiating strong contracts? Who gives us the best shot of uniting the working class and winning our fair share once again?"

"Rarely as a union do you get so clear of a choice between two candidates," argued Fain, who has gained a national profile for last year's strike and his ongoing push to improve conditions for the working class. He shared a slideshow with details about how Trump and Biden have handled issues important to UAW members, highlighting that during the strike, the Republican "went to a nonunion plant, invited by the boss, and trashed our union."

"Donald Trump is a scab," Fain declared, using a derogatory term for someone who crosses a picket line. "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. Donald Trump stands against everything we stand for as a union, as a society."

Biden also took aim at his predecessor, telling the UAW conference crowd that "when Donald Trump was in office, six auto factories closed around the country. Tens of thousands of auto jobs were lost nationwide during Trump's presidency. During my presidency, we've opened 20 auto factories, with more to come. We've created more than 250,000 auto jobs all across America."

"We have a big fight in front of us. We're fundamentally changing the economy in this country... All anyone wants is just a fair shot," Biden added. "That's what my economic plan is all about. That's what the UAW is all about. That's what your battle has been about. The days of working people being dealt out of the deal are over in this country as long as I'm president."

CNNreported Wednesday that "although it's a key endorsement for Biden, the backing from union leadership may not convince all of the rank and file to vote for the president in November. Biden won the endorsement of the UAW in the 2020 campaign, even though many rank-and-file members supported Trump."

The president has collected various endorsements from labor and other groups throughout the campaign, though at least one organization recently revoked its primary support for Biden due to his position on Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, and others are facing similar pressure to do so. The UAW has notably called for a cease-fire in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The UAW has about 400,000 active members and more than 580,000 retired members, many with ties to Michigan, a swing state. Reutersnoted that the president narrowly won the state in 2020 and "a Biden campaign official said this endorsement will mean more in November in Michigan than the anger among Muslim voters in the state over the administration's support for Israel."

The battle to win over organized labor continues. According toPolitico: "Trump, for his part, is scheduled to meet with Teamsters President Sean O'Brien and union members next week, as that union also has held out on a presidential endorsement. The Teamsters invited Biden to a roundtable with members that same day, the union said."

This post has been updated to replace Shawn Fain's prepared remarks with delivered remarks.

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