CENTER Line, Sept 23: The US auto workers union expanded a strike against two of Detroit's "Big Three" on Friday, while President Joe Biden announced plans to join the picket line in solidarity with employees.
Some 5,600 members of the United Auto Workers union walked out of 38 US parts and distribution centers at General Motors and Stellantis at noon Friday, adding to last week's dramatic worker walkout.
The UAW has described its campaign as an effort to level the economic playing field for the working class, but Friday's events also underscored the lofty political stakes, with Biden's visit coming just a day before a planned trip by Republican rival Donald Trump.
In announcing the expanded strike, UAW President Shawn Fain said the latest action would stretch across 20 states, targeting sites owned by General Motors and Stellantis, with whom negotiations have stalled.
"As we have said for weeks, we're not going to wait around forever for fair contracts at the Big Three," Fain said in a briefing.
Fain said Ford would be spared the latest strike escalation because of progress in talks at the company.
Fain extended an invitation to Biden to join workers on the picket line, saying the "way you can help is to build our movement and show the companies that the public stands with us."
By nightfall, the president announced his plan on X, the site formerly called Twitter.
"Tuesday, I'll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create," Biden said. "It's time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs."
The visit will mark the US president's latest voyage to America's auto center. He has appeared at the 2022 Detroit Auto Show and at major project unveils alongside GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley and other executives. �AFP