Michigan lawmaker calls UAW strike a 'fundamental struggle' that will benefit all

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) joined the United Auto Workers picket line in his home state on Friday, claiming the union members’ “fundamental struggle” will help all families in the communities he represents.

“We’ve got some distance to go. This is a fundamental struggle,” Kildee said told MSNBC in an interview on Friday. “Just to be clear, it’s important for the workers for sure, but it’s important for everybody in my community.” 

“We all will benefit when workers have a better wage that can give them a chance to raise their families in the middle class,” he continued. “That will set the standard for everybody, and that will help everybody.”

The UAW began its strike last week against the “Big Three” — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — after negotiations failed before their contracts ended. The union is demanding higher wages, shorter work weeks, union representation for battery plant workers and better retirement benefits — including restored pensions for new hires.

Strikes expanded on Friday to 38 additional GM and Stellantis plants all over the country. The union decided not to strike additional Ford plants due to productive contract negotiations.

“They’ll stay out until they can get a fair contract that gets them compensations for the incredible, productive work that they do,” Kildee said. “The companies’ profitability is dependent on the productivity of these workers, and they know it.”

The Michigan lawmaker was also asked about Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) opposition of the UAW strike, after the 2024 GOP hopeful said he would support firing striking workers.

The union responded by filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Scott.

“What he suggests — that a private company simply fire workers who go on strike — that was a law back in the 1920s,” Kildee said. “That’s the way it worked before the labor movement grew in the country and built the middle class.”

“Does he want to go back to the golden age where companies would fire people over whispers of dissent?” he continued. “That’s what it sounds like he would support. Really dangerous.”

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