“How can you support somebody pushing for war?” Autoworkers denounce UAW endorsement of Biden

UAW members in Michigan and Ohio have denounced the decision by the union apparatus to endorse the reelection of President Joe Biden. Workers who spoke with the World Socialist Web Site were particularly angered over Biden’s support for the Israel genocide in Gaza and his promotion of the UAW-Big Three labor agreements, which have paved the way for sweeping job cuts in the auto industry. 

Warren Truck workers taking WSWS statement, "The UAW apparatus backed the war criminal in the White House."

Fain appeared on the CBS Face the Nation program Sunday morning, falsely claiming that Biden—who had helped impose massive concessions on autoworkers in 2009—speaks for the working class. As for the administration’s arming and coordinating of the mass murder in Gaza, along with the US expansion of military operations throughout the Middle East, Fain claimed that Biden could be pressured to “do the right thing.” 

Tony, a UAW member and worker at a GE aviation plant in Ohio, told the WSWS, “Biden keeps pushing the war in Gaza and trying to fund the war in Ukraine, and I’m unhappy that the UAW would endorse him even though he continues to propagate the war. I know from work, some of the guys are just generally not happy because they’re conservative and they’re not happy that the UAW is backing the Democratic Party. But I understand that the Democrats’ agenda is not labor’s agenda, despite what Shawn Fain said.  

“Biden says he’s the most pro-union president in history, and that’s not true. Everybody’s aware that Biden and Congress shut down the potential strike on the railroads. The president initially came out against the UAW strikes, but then I guess they got on board, especially when it turned out not to be a real strike. 

“It’s a war against the working class in other countries and here. What is happening in Gaza is a genocide, basically; it’s an ethnic cleansing. It’s what the Israeli regime always wanted. It’s one of those things where you’re sitting back watching this horror going on, and you feel nothing can be done because the government is backing it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my lifetime so many demonstrating against Israel and the United States, en masse, and that’s helpful. 

“Zionism and the Evangelicals are theologically the same thing. The Religious Right holds that the Jews are the chosen people too, but they need to go back to the Biblical lands before being eradicated. 

“There has to be another way to go. Workers are consciously aware that the choices before them have not worked. But there is no option, no third button to press, so they have to go back to the same blue or red button, which keeps turning the same wheel of immiseration. I’ve been talking to guys, and they feel they don’t have any choice with Biden and Trump.” 

Mary, a Stellantis worker and member of the Warren Truck Rank-and-File Committee, said, “It is straight up BS the UAW is supporting somebody who is pushing for war real, real hard. How is the UAW going to support Biden and claim they are supporting us as the working class? You can’t do both. I’m totally against the war in Gaza and other wars. 

“Biden would rather support the war for corporate greed and send the American people over there to fight these wars and lose thousands of people who come back in body bags. They are so quick to send the working class to fight a war that we have no business being there and destroy people’s families—while the wealthy are living comfortably. Workers don’t have any interest in killing each other, and we have to figure out a want to stop this. 

“Biden is a straight up liar, and so is Fain. He is presenting Biden like some kind of savior of the autoworkers. But it was a dirty tactic of Fain and Biden working together to get us a contract that is cutting our jobs. They’re firing the SEs [supplemental employees, or temporary workers] they said they were going to roll over to full time. They cancelled second shift production at Warren Truck for the whole week, saying something about supply issues with the Rams. We are also hearing threats they could be getting rid of the second shift and laying off thousands of more workers company wide.”

Hannah, a recently fired SE and member of the rank-and-file committee at Warren Truck, said, “For the UAW to come out and endorse Biden is more proof that Fain and Biden were having a different discussion than they were telling us during the negotiations for our supposedly ‘historic’ contracts. They were conspiring against us. 

I don’t believe that Biden puts us first. It’s not a matter of Democrats or Republicans, neither one of them speak for the workers. They are for the rich. But they do things a little differently. Biden is like the UAW officials who say ‘we’re for the people’ and then works against us. 

“Both Trump and Biden try to cause divisions, turning us against immigrants or using race, so they can keep the poor separated and fighting the wrong war. 

“Biden is using workers for wars we don’t want and which are intended for corporate greed. And it’s at our expense. We don’t have problems with workers anywhere in the world, but they want to take from the working class for war. We’re supposed to be a democracy, but we have no say-so on war, no voice in their plans. They say there is no money for us but they always have money for wars. 

“Now, Fain is hypocritically saying he’s fighting to get the jobs of the supplementary workers back. We’ve heard from International UAW reps that there is nothing they can and will do. Now after abusing and using the SEs, they are having problems running the plant without us. 

“We want to fight so we can have a better life, make enough, and have job security so we can raise our kids and put them in school. During the ‘stand up’ strike, Fain kept us at work, stockpiling the vehicles and making profits for the companies. Now after working our butts off just to get $21 an hour, they are throwing us on the unemployment line and initiating a war.” 

Supporters of the Autoworkers Newsletter also distributed the WSWS statement, “The UAW apparatus backs the war criminal in the White House,” at the Warren Truck factory last Friday. 

Robert, a contract worker, said, “Money controls the world. Personally, nothing is going to change unless everybody in the world that doesn’t make money just stops, stays at home and says, ‘No, we are not working anymore until things change.’ People don’t understand how much power they have if we did it together. The union is not as strong as it used to be because everybody has been bought off.”