DETROIT – Democratic presidential candidates have been haunting job support all summer, appearing in small union halls and major conferences and tweaking support for workers at companies like Amazon and Walmart. But now that the United Automobile Workers, one of the nation's largest unions, is staging a strike that even draws words of support from President Trump, Democrats are using the moment to align themselves with workers in public and dramatic ways.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts passed the picket line on Sunday along with strikes by General Motors workers at a Detroit assembly plant. Not to be outdone, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared in another G.M. assembly plant in Kansas City Kan.
In delivering her message on combating inequality in Michigan for the fourth time since June, Ms. Warren has joined the scandal of striking auto workers wearing blue and white UAW "Per strike ka ”. When they crossed the entrance of the Detroit-Hamtramk assembly plant where Cadillac and Chevrolet were built, the workers chanted: "We are the union, the mighty, the mighty union. U.A.W. stay strong. ”
Ms. Warren criticizes GM. to close factories while making billions of dollars in profits. "GM demonstrates that there is no loyalty to American workers or people in America," she said. "Their only loyalty is to their own baseline. And if they manage to save nickel by moving to Mexico, Asia or anywhere is elsewhere on this planet, they will do it. "
" Everyone deserves a living in this country, "she said. "Let's be clear, unions have built the middle class of America and the unions will restore the middle class of America."
U.A.W. Detroit leaders voted unanimously a week ago to resolve the strike, the union's first such communication since 2007. The union urges G.M. raise wages, re-open some businesses and add jobs to others and reduce the pay gap between new hires and veteran workers. Nearly 50,000 members have joined the picket lines in factories in the South and in the Midwest.
Each major Democratic presidential candidate voiced support for the striking workers and several visited picket lines to appeal to union members who may have shifted their support to Mr Trump. Senator Aimee Klobuchar of Minnesota joined the one in Detroit on Thursday while Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio travels to several in his home state and in Flint, Michigan
paying attention to striking US states. workers in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Biden wore a red T-shirt in solidarity. He referred to General Motors rescue during the Obama administration, telling the crowd: "We did not save GM, U.A.W. save gm! "He continued to lament the high pay of company executives and the lack of fair compensation for workers, and encouraged the striking workers, recognizing that" you are making a hell of a sacrifice. "" There is only one reason for us to have a middle class and it is written "UNION," he said. The crowd cheered.
The support of auto workers for the Democratic Party has been slightly eroded in recent years, and about 30 percent of the Union's ratings were estimated to have voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, little more than cases. who voted for the two previous Republican candidates.
The departure of those Democratic voters, even when Hillary Clinton was formally endorsed by the union, was especially critical of Mr. Trump in Michigan, where he won by the slimmest limits – less than 11,000 votes – to win 16 state's electoral votes.
About three years later, it is not clear how many of these union workers continue to return the president . The economy as a whole remains strong here, with unemployment nearly 20 years old.
Rep. Debbie Dingle, a Democrat who represents an area just outside of Detroit where several car manufacturing facilities live, said she believes Mr Trump
But she thinks a prolonged strike could shift the numbers to the president among such workers in one direction or another, depending on whether they consider him an attempt to help them or hurt them.  "If he is perceived as trying to keep the plants open and successful, it can have a positive impact," Ms. Dingle said.
In 2016, Ms. Dingle was the lone voice of amongst the Michigan Democrats, as she feared that Mr. Trump might carry the state, even reaching a meeting with Democratic lawmakers in his district a few weeks before the election, warning them not to underestimate his appeal.  same. Dingle said she often heard from car dealers at dozens of community meetings in 2016 that they were "with Donald" and that he believed he was genuinely interested in the trade.
Mr. Last week, Trump expressed hope that the strike would be "swift," complaining about General Motors' decision to close domestic factories and open factories in offshore companies, and made a leadership statement for the company, which announced last November that the company would close four plants in the United States.
"I received a huge number of votes from car dealers," Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. "I don't want General Motors to build factories outside this country. You know they built a lot of factories in China and Mexico and I don't like that at all. "
While Mr. Trump was running as a friend of the workers, some Labor leaders say this is largely empty rhetoric. In a recent interview with Fox News, the president of A.F.L.-C.I.O. Richard Trumka said workers were suffering and criticized the White House's inaction on the minimum wage. During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump said he supported raising the federal minimum wage, which is currently $ 7.25 an hour, to $ 10.
"He opposes any increase in the minimum wage," said Mr Tramka. "He changed the ordinance to take the extra work of several million people. It offers a trillion-dollar reduction in Medicare and Medicaid.
As about 200 people waited for Mrs. Warren's arrival on a sunny day, blocking the entrance of the dormant plant, some sang along with a note from Aretha Franklin's Respect "Respect," a message addressed to GM management. Many wore red T-shirts with the words "Solidarity, no more bull".
In many ways, Ms. Warren's central message, which emphasizes the struggles of middle- and low-income Americans, appeals to the same frustrations that Mr. Trump got involved in 2016 – a vicious anger at an economy and system that workers find unfair.
"To me, this is much bigger than GM and the car dealers," said Mike Mucci, a worker who was on the picket line at the Detroit plant on Sunday. "It's a fight for the middle class."
Mucci, 43, who says he is not a fan of Mr Trump, predicts that the president "will do everything he can to try to get a loan to save the United States."
Robert Hutline, 61, , retired GM a worker who voted for Mrs. Clinton in 2016 said he was impressed by Ms. Warren's plan to provide a free public college. "I like what she says if she can do it," he said. "I want to see student loans reduce these children."
Carla Ducket, 60, a Cadillac team leader here, said she would support regardless of US Democrats. approved. "I just know we have to support the Democrats this time," she said.
same. A hobbyist who donated donuts when he visited the picket line on Thursday described how G.M. workers suffered during the economic downturn and how the company "bounced back".
"This particular company makes a lot of money and that means to me that you have to share it with your workers," she said. "And that means better wages, it means healthcare, and it also means the long-term benefits our workers deserve. That's what this is about. It is about shared prosperity that we are all in it together. “
Mr. Sanders' visit Wednesday will be followed by a halt on Tuesday at a labor rally in support of the Chicago Teachers Union.
In August, Mr Sanders launched his Workplace Democracy Plan of 19459010, which he believed would double union membership during his term and provide workers with increased protection in the workplace.
Mr. Ryan, who cited the closure of the Chevrolet Cruz plant in Lordstown earlier this year as the impetus for his presidential campaign, joined G.M. workers outside the dormant plant last Monday.
"When a group of workers lose their jobs, it causes great disruption throughout the community," Mr. Ryan Tweets . "The children of these workers must cope with / or move to a new country and school; or the parent's injury is dismissed. Teachers are often left to help pick up the pieces.
G.M. last year it announced plans to close four plants, including one in Lordstown, with hundreds of workers choosing to move to other G.M. facilities. The Hamtramck plant, which makes the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6, will close in January.
Non-working plants became a problem in the negotiations, with workers pushing G.M. to improve salaries, add jobs in other establishments, pay a larger share of employee health care costs, and close or reduce the pay gap for new hires and veteran workers.
Pointing to a $ 50 billion federal rescue of G.M. in 2009, after the financial crisis as well as the Union concessions, many G.M. workers say they consider the decisions particularly indecisive.
Democratic presidential candidates have joined the pickets in previous strikes, including the McDonald's strike in May and the Stop and Shop strike in April when they joke about allied approvals.  But with a few isolated exceptions – United States Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers endorsed Mr. Sanders last month, and the National Firefighters Union endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in April – unions have detained , they wait a long time until they see which Democratic candidate has won the backing of the ranks.
Maggie Astor, Neil E. Boude, Katie Gluck and Noam Scheiber contributed reporting.