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A United Auto Workers (UAW) member on a picket line outside the Ford Motor Co. Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., on Sept. 15, 2023.
A United Auto Workers (UAW) member on a picket line outside the Ford Motor Co. Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., on Friday.Emily Elconin / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats head to the picket line as UAW strike gets underway

In Michigan and Ohio, Democratic candidates for the Senate are backing the striking union workers, with some even showing up to picket.


All eyes on Friday are turned to Missouri, Ohio and Michigan, where union auto workers at three manufacturing plants began striking overnight.

So far, at least two prominent Democratic senators -- and one Democratic Senate hopeful -- have joined or announced plans to join picket lines.

Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin posted a video on social media on her way to meet with striking workers in Wayne, Michigan at a Ford assembly location.

"The workers who are striking are doing the most American thing in the world and just asking that if they're going to work hard every single day that they be able to participate in the American dream, the security of the middle class," Slotkin, who is running for Senate, said in the video.

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who leads the Senate Democratic campaign arm, posted a video and photos from the picket line.

"It's great to be here on day one," Peters said in the video, "Standing in solidarity with the union members, members of the UAW who are standing up for fair wages and benefits."

Another lawmaker, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, also joined workers on the picket line in Toledo, at a Stellantis plant that manufactures Jeeps.

Brown faces a tough re-election battle as a Democrat in deep-red Ohio, where Republicans have yet to select his challenger in a primary.

The visits by three top Democrats to picket lines on Friday signals the Democratic Party will continue to tout it's pro-labor roots and agenda, as it seeks to win working class voters back from more populist Republican candidates.

Meanwhile, several Republican presidential candidates frowned upon the strike, with former President Donald Trump telling NBC News' Kristen Welker that he doesn't support the union's president, Shawn Fain.

"I think he's not doing a good job in representing his union, because he's not going to have a union in three years from now. Those jobs are all going to be gone, because all of those electric cars are going to be made in China," Trump said.

And, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is running against Trump for the GOP nomination, held a manufacturing roundtable discussion in South Carolina this morning where he looked down on the strike for not promoting a culture of hard work.

"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, and we have to find a way to encourage and inspire people to go back to work," Scott said, according to NBC News' Nnamdi Egwuonwu.