What We Saw at UAW Picket Line Outside Ford’s Detroit Plant

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DETROIT—Picketers from the UAW continue to protest outside Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant as the employee parking lots here sit empty.

The Daily Signal spoke with United Auto Workers picketers outside the Ford plant along Michigan Avenue on Wednesday and Thursday. UAW vans routinely dropped off additional union members to join the strike, and the air was filled with the sounds of car honking in support of the strike.

The union began striking at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis plants across several states Sept.15, demanding a 40% increase in wages, a four-day work week, an end to compensation tiers, and a return to traditional pension plans. 

Although many UAW members were unwilling to speak with The Daily Signal on camera because of orders from their strike captain, many communicated that they were unhappy with a lack of raises over the past decade. 

One tradesman, who said he has worked at Ford for 10 years, said he had received raises totaling only “three dollars” in the past eight years.

The Big Three automakers proposed a 20% raise for union members in response to the strikes, but so far the UAW has rejected the offer. 

Many of those striking were talking about competing visits this week from both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who spoke at nearby auto industry manufacturing facilities.

Of the dozens of striking workers The Daily Signal spoke with, only one praised Biden for standing with, and briefly speaking to, striking UAW members on a picket line. Most blamed the president’s actions for “crippling” the auto manufacturing industry on multiple fronts—from oil production and trade restrictions to electric vehicle subsidies and inflation. 

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“He’s one of the ones who did this to us,” an auto worker told The Daily Signal, referring to Biden. “He doesn’t give a damn about a guy on the line.”

Another picketer, who told The Daily Signal that she had worked at the Ford plant for 15 years, said: “He can be an a**hole, but at least when Trump was in office I had more money in my pocket and food on the table.”

UAW picketers routinely grabbed slices of pizza from boxes labeled “provided by Donald J. Trump.”

Pizza delivered courtesy of Donald Trump to striking UAW workers is stacked outside the Ford plant. (Photo: Tony Kinnett/The Daily Signal)

Several UAW picketers on Wednesday morning attended the nearby Trump rally that evening, standing on platforms to the side of the stage during the former president’s remarks. 

The strike captain told The Daily Signal that she didn’t know whether Biden or Trump’s appearances would do anything to help auto workers.

Semitrucks, attempting to deliver supplies to the Ford plant, routinely pierced the UAW strike line. When a truck would try to drive through one of the gates, UAW members would shout “Scab!” and appear to block the semi from getting into the factory. 

Both on-site security and UAW picketers told The Daily Signal that they couldn’t prevent anyone from leaving or entering the property. So each truck was let through after workers shouted for a few moments.

Many striking workers echoed one constant refrain to The Daily Signal.

 “We’ll strike as long as it takes to get a fair contract,” they said.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post What We Saw at UAW Picket Line Outside Ford’s Detroit Plant appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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