The United Auto Workers union endorsed President Joe Biden for reelection, giving the incumbent a key backing as he seeks to win over blue-collar workers in swing states.

What You Need To Know

  • The United Auto Workers endorsed President Biden for the 2024 presidential election

  • The UAW endorsement comes one day after former President Trump won the New Hampshire Primary

  • Last year, President Biden was the first sitting U.S. president to picket with striking workers

  • The UAW won record contracts from the Big Three Detroit auto makers last year after striking for almost three months

The highly anticipated endorsement came Wednesday, during the National CAP Conference in Washington D.C., where union leaders meet with politicians to lobby for workers’ rights and set legislative priorities. While not a complete surprise, as the union backed Biden four years ago, the union held out on its endorsement for a few months, despite the president's support during the union's strike against the Detroit Three automakers last year.

“This election’s about who will stand up with us and who will stand in our way,” UAW President Shawn Fain said at a rowdy event where he was frequently interrupted by chants of “UAW” and “Joe.” “The choice is clear: Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker.”

With its membership 145,000 strong, the endorsement from the UAW is key for the president as he and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump pursue the blue-collar vote in key battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin. Biden and Trump both emerged victorious in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday and are expected to cruise to their parties’ nomination.

Biden has long described himself as the most pro-union president in U.S. history. Last year, he made history when he joined striking UAW members on the picket line in Michigan as they pursued better pay and benefits from the Big Three Detroit automakers.

“I was so damn proud to stand on that picket line with you,” President Biden said at the National CAP Conference moments after receiving the UAW endorsement and putting on a UAW baseball hat. “I’m honored to have your back, and you have mine. That’s the deal.”

The endorsement comes as part of the early kickoff to Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign, where he is running on a message of building the country’s economy from the middle out and the bottom up.

“Wall Street didn’t build America,” Biden said Wednesday, reiterating a statement he often makes in economic stump speeches both on and off the campaign trail. “The unions built America, and the unions built the middle class.”

Before announcing the UAW endorsement, Fain presented a series of slides to demonstrate Biden’s and Trump’s statements about unions dating back to 2008, when the Great Recession threatened to cripple the auto industry.

Fain quoted Trump saying, “I think that the unions are really, really hurting very badly,” and Biden saying, “The nation bet on the American autoworkers and won.”

In 2015, Fain quoted Trump saying job rotations at union auto plants would prompt workers to beg for their jobs back at lower pay. He praised Biden for making changes at the National Labor Relations Board that support workers’ right to organize.

Fain showed a blank slide to illustrate Trump’s stance on a UAW strike at a GM plant in 2019 while he was president.

“He said nothing. He did nothing, not a damn thing because he doesn’t care about the American worker,” Fain said before chastising Trump once again for visiting a non-union plant during the UAW strike last summer.

Calling Trump a scab who “stands against everything we stand for as a union, as a society,” Fain said November’s election is about the UAW’s core issues of wages, retirement, healthcare and time.

“We need to know who’s going to sit in the most powerful seat in the world and help us win as a united working class,” Fain said, adding that UAW endorsements are earned and Biden has earned it.

In an email sent after the event, Trump's campaign said that the Republican former president "saved the auto industry," while claiming that President Biden's electric vehicle policies "would completely destroy it."

The endorsement comes as the UAW seeks to organize workers at many of the country's non-union plants.