(Reuters) -Labor negotiations continued this week between union negotiators and representatives of the Detroit Three automakers days into a strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis.
Below are comments from some of the 10 Republican presidential candidates seeking their party’s 2024 nomination to take on Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden, who has backed the United Auto Workers.
The former U.S. president, in a post on his social media website on Sunday: “The United Autoworkers are being sold down the “drain” with this all Electric Car SCAM. They’ll be made in China, under Crooked Joe’s CHINA FIRST POLICY. AUTOWORKERS, VOTE FOR TRUMP – I’LL MAKE YOU VICTORIOUS & RICH. IF YOUR “LEADERS” WON’T ENDORSE ME, VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE, NOW. WITH THE DEMOCRATS & CROOKED JOE CALLING THE SHOTS, YOU’LL BE JOBLESS & PENNILESS WITHIN 4 YEARS. REMEMBER, BIDEN IS A CROOK WHO HAS BEEN PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BY CHINA, & OTHERS. He is a Manchurian Candidate!!!”
On Friday, he wrote: “The all Electric Car is a disaster for both the United Auto Workers and the American Consumer. They will all be built in China and, they are too expensive, don’t go far enough, take too long to charge, and pose various dangers under certain atmospheric conditions. If this happens, the United Auto workers will be wiped out, along with all other auto workers in the United States. The all Electric Car policy is about as dumb as Open Borders and No Voter I.D. IT IS A COMPLETE AND TOTAL DISASTER!”
The former vice president under Trump told CNN on Sunday, when asked about the “general fairness” of higher CEO pay compared to their workers’ salaries:
“That ought to be left to the shareholders of that company. I’m somebody that believes in free enterprise. I think those are decisions that can be made by shareholders and creating pressure. And I will fully support how these publicly traded companies operate. I’m not interested in government mandates or government bullying when it comes to those kind of issues.”
“I side with American workers. I side with all American families. I side with the people of this country, Jake, that are living under the failed policies of the Biden administration. Families are struggling. Families are hurting. They know we need new leadership in the White House,” Pence added when asked if he sided with CEOS or the union.
The former biotechnology investor and executive said ahead of campaign remarks in Washington on Friday, according to video posted by local media:
“I empathize with workers who have seen wages not go up nearly at the same rate as prices have gone up. … The people they should be really protesting against is the current administration that has given us the economic policies of inflation without wage growth to go along with it. … So I understand the frustration, but I think union bosses may be directing that ire in the wrong direction when it belongs at the feet of our current government.”
The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations under Trump told Fox News in an interview on Saturday:
“It tells you when you have the most pro-union president and he touts that he is emboldening the unions, this is what you get. And I’ll tell you who pays for it is the taxpayers. … The union is asking for a 40% raise, the companies have come back with a 20% raise – I think any of the taxpayers would love to have a 20% raise and think that’s great. But the problem is we’re all going to suffer from this. This is going to cause things to go up, and this is going to last awhile … I don’t think government should get involved in this. These are private sector matters. But I do think the tone of how a president talks about unions and how a president emboldens them does play a role in this, and we’re seeing what Biden has done.”
As governor, “I was a union buster. I didn’t want to bring in companies that were unionized simply because I didn’t want to have that change the environment in our state. We very much watched out for workers. … We didn’t encourage middlemen between companies and their workers. We encouraged workers to have that direct communication with them,” Haley added.
The U.S. senator from South Carolina said at an event in South Carolina on Friday, according to local media:
“We’re watching today, on every screen around the country, we’re seeing the UAW fight for more benefits and less hours working. More pay and fewer days on the job. It’s a disconnect from work.”
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said he was not surprised, when asked about the strike in New Hampshire on Monday:
“This is not just about wages. This is about a battle about the future of American transportation. And the union workers are going ‘wow, if we’re going to switch to all EVs, we’re going to have less jobs …, we’re going to be dependent on China for our transportation needs.’ … They understand what’s happening. And the federal government to play a role in an industry debate where they’re basically saying we’re going to subsidize this kind of vehicle – a vehicle with an EV engine, we’re gonna subsidize it, and if it’s got an internal combustion machine, we’re not subsidizing it – to be that specific, America should be outraged, because it’s like, what are we just going to get rid of free markets, what we built this country on?”
(Washington newsroom; Editing by Richard Chang)