UAW endorsement of Biden comes amid massive organizing campaign

With support for unions running high at the moment, the endorsement may carry some more weight.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain meets with the media at a Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Center Line, Mich.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain meets with the media at a Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Center Line, Mich.

President Joe Biden was in metro Detroit for a campaign stop last week to meet with voters and union leaders. The move comes roughly a week after Biden accepted the endorsement of the United Auto Workers union.

“You are the best workers in the world,” Biden said at a UAW Training Center in Warren. “That’s not hyperbole. You really are. When labor does well, everybody does better.”

It’s been quite the year for the UAW — winning historic gains after a strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Stellantis. With support for unions running high right now, the endorsement may carry a little more weight.

Biden joined striking UAW members on the picket lines — the first president to do so.

For UAW President Shawn Fain, there was no chance of endorsing former President Donald Trump.

“One candidate in President Biden has a history of standing with workers,” Fain told WDET.  “The other, his two favorite words are ‘you’re fired’ and that’s not something that working class people ever want to hear.”

In his endorsement speech last month, Fain called Trump a “scab” for the former president’s support of non-unionized companies.

For their part, the United Auto Workers are trying to grow their ranks.

The union has had some success in getting interest from workers at non-union plants in the south.

“Thousands of workers in the non-union sector all over the country have been reaching out,” Fain said.  “We’ve hit our goal at three of the companies already and and it’s moving fast. We just announced Hyundai hit 30%.”

That means a third of  all workers at a Hyundai plant in Alabama have signed union cards — joining workers at an Alabama Mercedes plant, and a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee.

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some pushback.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has embraced the foreign carmakers for keeping the plants as non-union — calling unorganized labor “the Alabama way” while dismissing organizational efforts as “out-of-state special interests.”

Use the media player above for the full interview with UAW President Shawn Fain.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.