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UAW workers prepare for visits from Biden, Trump to Detroit

UAW workers prepare for visits from Biden, Trump
UAW workers prepare for visits from Biden, Trump 02:56

(CBS DETROIT) - President Joe Biden will be visiting Michigan on Tuesday to support striking UAW workers, while former President Donald Trump will also be visiting Metro Detroit on Wednesday.

Some picketing UAW workers said they know the visits aren't just to support the workers. 

"It's definitely political. Both candidates … they want votes. They want people to back them. So they'll do whatever they can," said UAW worker Christopher Jedrzejek

Jedrzekek said whatever their motivation, the high-profile visits will bring even more awareness to the strike. 

"It's exciting that our UAW has so much pull that it's nationwide news," he said. 

While some workers may be looking forward to one politician's visit over the other, many said the attention is exciting.

"Just the support, having them come out here, show that they actually see us," said UAW worker Jennifer Lyon.

Lyon said it's important to know where politicians stand on issues like labor and unions. 

"That's what you look for when you go to elect someone. Just like when we elected (Shawn) Fain, that's what we were looking for. Somebody that was going to back us," she said.

The striking workers said they hope the visits will bring them closer to ending the strike and reaching a fair deal.  

"We helped them out in 2008. We gave a concession; we never got a lot of those back. It's time to be fair," said Jedrzejek.

Biden had a similar sentiment when asked if he supports UAW workers. 

"They gave everything from the pensions on, and they saved the automobile industry. And I think that now that the industry is roaring back … that they should participate … in the benefit of that," Biden said. 

In its latest update, UAW said its negotiations with Stellantis and General Motors are ongoing. It says negotiations with Ford are very active, though there are still a ways to go.

Stellantis issued the following statement Monday regarding Biden's visit to Detroit:

"On the first day of the strike, President Biden said UAW workers "deserve a contract that sustains them and the middle class." We agree and presented a record offer. Here are the facts: 21.4% compounded wage increase, $1 Billion in retirement security benefits, inflation protection measures, job security and more. Unlike the non-unionized transplants and EV startups who comprise the majority of the U.S. market, Stellantis relies on the collaboration between management and labor to ensure that our company remains competitive, and, therefore, sustainable. That is a position we have proudly embraced. But it also requires a balanced agreement that fairly rewards our workforce for their contribution to our success, without significantly disadvantaging Stellantis against our non-union competitors. We stand ready to sign a record contract that positions our company to continue providing good jobs here at home and be the winner as the U.S. transitions to an electrified future."

GM also issued a statement on Biden and Trump's visits: 

"Our focus is not on politics but continues to be on bargaining in good faith with the UAW leadership to reach an agreement as quickly as possible that rewards our workforce and allows GM to succeed and thrive into the future. We have presented five, record economic proposals that address the areas our team members have said matter most, including wage increases and job security. We value our workforce and understand the impact a strike has on our employees, communities and the economy - nobody wins."

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