Nov. 9 In honor of the reopening of the Belvidere, Illinois, car plant and the UAW contract that secured unprecedented gains for auto workers, President Joe Biden joined UAW President Shawn Fain and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Thursday.
Biden’s visit to Illinois, according to the White House, was intended to showcase his working-family agenda, his dedication to establishing well-paying union jobs, and the success of the UAW strike that restored thousands of jobs to the Belvidere plant.
“He’s going to mark the reopening of that assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois,” stated White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday at a news briefing. “This reopening will create thousands of jobs, highlight the president’s commitment to rehiring and retooling EV and EV battery jobs in the same communities where auto jobs have created good-paying union jobs for decades.”
Before his planned arrival in Chicago for a campaign reception on Thursday afternoon, Biden gave a speech at the Community Building Complex in Belvidere. On Thursday night, Biden was supposed to return to the White House.
The president mentioned in his remarks there his personal ties to the auto industry.
“Due to our tiny population, my state of Delaware had the greatest percentage of UAW workers in the entire United States of America. Outside of Detroit, we had the biggest GM facility,” Biden remarked. “But here’s the thing: I grew up among cars. For a long period, my dad owned and operated a vehicle agency.”
He also shared his early recollections of the effects that the closure of car plants may have on towns and workers.
“I was raised in a community where I was familiar with the effects of a closed facility. People lost pride in the closure of the main General Motors and Chrysler plants, as I mentioned earlier. Communities were seriously in trouble. People questioned if they would remain and what would happen to their families, according to Biden.
Biden also highlighted his extensive tenure with the UAW.
“To the UAW members, you guys are as tough as they come. You truly are tough.” The first clothing company to ever support me was when I was a 29-year-old candidate for the US Senate, and they have supported me throughout my entire career,” stated Biden.
UAW President Shawn Fain was also commended by the president.
But the truth is that Shawn Fain is at the top of the food chain when it comes to this. “You’ve done an incredible job, Shawn, my friend,” Biden exclaimed.
Major victories for UAW members were achieved during the walkout against the Detroit Three automakers, including a 25% pay raise throughout the new contract’s four-year term.
On September 26, just outside of Detroit, Biden joined the UAW General Managers’ picket line at Willow Run, Michigan, during the six-week strike.
Through the use of a bullhorn, Biden informed the striking employees that their 2008 concessions, which prevented certain manufacturers from going bankrupt, had preserved the car industry.
On the picket line, Biden remarked, “You gave up a lot and made a lot of sacrifices.” “The businesses faced difficulties. Now that they are succeeding greatly, guess what? You ought to be excelling as well. You ought to receive additional benefits and a sizable raise. Let us retrieve the lost items.
An Israeli war protester once stopped Biden’s remarks during Thursday’s event in Illinois by yelling, “President Biden, you need to call for a ceasefire in Gaza!” The assembly jeered, and Biden went on with his remarks.