Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during a meet and greet, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall | AP
Several Republican presidential candidates have gone on the attack against unions in response to the United Auto Employees’ strike, despite strong support for organized labor among the many American public.
The 2 GOP candidates who’ve taken the toughest line are from South Carolina, a state with a notorious anti-union fame. The Palmetto State has develop into a hub for foreign automakers which have taken advantage of the South’s lower labor costs.
Sen. Tim Scott on Monday said striking employees must be fired, saying he would emulate President Ronald Reagan who terminated greater than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers in 1981.
“Ronald Reagan gave us an incredible example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” Scott told voters during an event in Fort Dodge, Iowa. “He said, ‘You strike, you are fired.’ Easy concept to me. To the extent that we will use that after again, absolutely.”
Former Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday proclaimed she was a “union buster,” pointing to her record of recruiting foreign automotive manufacturers corresponding to Mercedes Benz and Volvo to the Palmetto State.
“I didn’t want to herald corporations that were unionized just because I didn’t wish to have that change the environment in our state,” Haley said during an interview with Fox News.
Haley said President Joe Biden had “emboldened” the UAW by proclaiming he’s the “most pro-union president in American history.” She said the striking autoworkers’ demands for a 40% pay raise will drive up prices. “We’re all going to suffer from this,” Haley said.
Scott and Haley are taking a tough line against organized labor despite the proven fact that two-thirds of Americans approve of unions, in keeping with a Gallup poll published in August. The UAW strike also enjoys solid support with 54% of U.S. adults approving the work stoppage, in keeping with a Morning Seek the advice of poll.
The autoworkers strike could escalate ahead of the Republican primary debate next week on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
UAW President Shawn Fain has warned Ford Motor, General Motors and Stellantis that the union will goal more plants if “serious progress” isn’t made in negotiations by noon ET Friday.
At the least five other Republican candidates have weighed in on the strike, including frontrunner Donald Trump. They’ve largely sought to put the blame for the walkout on Biden, who has publicly sided with the UAW by calling for the automakers to share record profits with their employees.
Trump, for his part, is skipping the second GOP debate to go to Detroit and speak with union members. Trump is courting a UAW endorsement while at the identical time attacking the union’s leadership.
“The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump,” the previous president told NBC News in an interview that aired Sunday.
Trump claimed the Biden push to transition to electric vehicles will lead to manufacturing jobs shifting to China.
Michigan was key to Trump’s 2016 presidential victory over Hillary Clinton and his loss to Biden in 2020. Trump and Biden are in a dead heat amongst registered voters, in keeping with the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said the strikes are a “reflection of the failed economic policies of the Biden administration,” sidestepping union claims that the automakers have did not share windfall profits with their employees.
Pence largely echoed his former boss’s attack on Biden’s electric vehicle push.
“I guarantee you that one in all the things that is driving that strike is that Bidenomics and their green energy, electric vehicle agenda is nice for Beijing and bad for Detroit, and American autoworkers comprehend it,” Pence said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Former Recent Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said UAW employees deserve a raise but criticized their demand for a reduced 32-hour workweek at 40 hours of pay.
“I don’t desire to pay them for not working and I believe that is where the union goes to lose this argument with the American public and hopefully they back off of that,” the presidential candidate told reporters after a town hall in Recent Hampshire on Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said little concerning the autoworkers’ strike. Like Trump and Pence, the candidate this week criticized Biden’s electric vehicle push but didn’t comment on UAW’s demands.
“With respect to the auto industry and the autoworkers, one in all the things that is an enormous threat to that’s Biden’s push to impose electric vehicle mandates — the fact is that is not where the market is,” DeSantis said in a television station interview in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.
“We would like to preserve the power of automakers to really produce the style of vehicles that folks wish to buy. That can mean more autoworker jobs,” DeSantis said.
The governor has been hostile to organized labor in Florida, signing a law in May that restricted teacher and public-sector worker unions.
Former pharmaceutical company CEO Vivek Ramaswamy said he sympathizes with autoworkers whose wages have stagnated. But Ramaswamy said the UAW should direct its anger on the Biden administration reasonably than the car corporations.
“I understand the frustration, but I believe union bosses could also be directing that ire within the flawed direction when it belongs on the feet of our current federal government,” Ramaswamy said Friday at an event in Washington, D.C.