Fetterman joins striking UAW workers on picket line in Michigan

“It’s time to decide what side you’re on.”

By: - September 17, 2023 7:58 am

U.S. Sens. John Fetterman. D-Pa. and Gary Peters, D-Mich. joined striking UAW workers on their picket line Saturday, Sept. 16 (Photo via Sen. Fetterman/Twitter)

Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. John Fetterman made the trip to Michigan on Saturday to walk the picket line with striking workers from the United Auto Workers, who walked off the job Friday. Fetterman said in a statement he was driving his “UAW-made Ford Bronco from Braddock, Pennsylvania to Wayne, Michigan” to show his support.

“It’s time to decide what side you’re on. Are you on the side of the Big 3 CEOs who made a combined $74 million last year, and are now claiming they cannot afford to pay their workers?,” Fetterman said. “Or are you on the side of the UAW workers who bust their ass every day, the people who build the American cars and trucks we Pennsylvanians drive?”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., welcomed Fetterman to the picket line in Wayne. “Great to have you join us on the picket line standing in solidarity with the UAW workers fighting for their fair share and the future of the middle class,” he posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

When their contracts expired at midnight Friday, workers with the UAW began strikes at Ford’s Michigan Assembly, GM’s Wentzville plant in Missouri and Stellantis’ Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. It’s the first time in history that the UAW is striking against all three domestic auto giants.

The union represents nearly 150,000 employees, and is fighting for increased wages, a 32-hour work week and better pension benefits, and an end to so-called tiered compensation between workers with different lengths of service.

Fetterman was not the only politician to weigh in on the strike. U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, posted on social media that he was “rooting for the auto workers across our country demanding higher wages and an end to political leadership’s green war on their industry.”

U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., headlined a rally on Friday with UAW members in Detroit.

Dems come out in support for UAW strikes, as Republicans criticize push for EVs

“The fight you are waging is a fight against the outrageous level of corporate greed and arrogance that we are seeing on the part of CEOs who think they have a right to have it all, and could care less about the needs of their workers,” Sanders told the rally of several hundred workers.

“The fight you are waging is to rebuild the struggling middle class of our country that was once the envy of the world.”

Also on Friday, President Joe Biden said he thought the companies “should go further” to share their profits with workers.

“Over the past decade auto companies have seen record profits, including over the last few years because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifice of the UAW workers,” Biden said from the White House. “Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers.”

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications.