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The Graphic Truth: Union workers in swing states

President Joe Biden joined striking US auto workers in Michigan this week to lend support to the labor unions that have been on the picket line.

This move – the first time a US president has joined organized labor groups in protest – shows the importance of specific states in the upper Midwest, where unions yield clout, in paving Biden’s path to victory in next year’s presidential election. Former President Donald Trump, for his part, also addressed auto workers in Michigan this week.

But this outreach isn’t just about the Great Lakes State and its important electorate – it’s reflective of both parties’ efforts to win over white working-class voters in a matchup that’s looking increasingly close.

We take a look at union representation across select battleground states and how they’ve voted in the past four presidential elections.

A United Auto Workers union member holds a sign outside Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to mark the beginning of contract negotiations in Sterling Heights, Mich., in July.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

US autoworkers drive a hard bargain

Unionized workers at America’s Big 3 automakers could be on strike as of Sept. 14. The 146,000 members of the United Auto Workers and their pugnacious president, Shawn Fain, are ready to rumble. For the first time, the UAW has not yet chosen a “target” company against which to strike but has threatened to walk off the jobs at all three at once.

What do they want?

The UAW is demanding a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay, and a restoration of traditional pensions. In response, Ford offered a 9% wage increase and one-time lump-sum payments, for a total raise of 15% over four years. Stellantis and GM have yet to file counterproposals, leading to the UAW recently filing charges of unfair labor practices against them.

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