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Biden Strengthens Labor Backing in Illinois

President Biden made an appearance in Illinois, wearing a United Automobile Workers T-shirt, to celebrate a labor deal that kept a Stellantis manufacturing plant in business. This move aimed to solidify crucial union support for the president.

In a speech before a lively crowd, Mr. Biden hailed a union agreement with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, which included pay raises and the reopening of the Belvidere, Ill., plant. The president also emphasized the importance of clean energy, despite concerns among workers about potential job losses due to his climate change agenda. Additionally, Mr. Biden contrasted his approach with that of his likely Republican opponent in the 2024 presidential race, former President Donald J. Trump.

Criticizing his predecessor’s record, Mr. Biden highlighted the closure of six factories and the loss of tens of thousands of auto jobs during the previous administration. He also underscored Mr. Trump’s stance on electric vehicles and advocated for the potential growth in manufacturing jobs due to the shift towards clean energy.

During Mr. Trump’s tenure, the National Labor Relations Board was seen as favoring corporations and displaying hostility towards unions. In contrast, Mr. Biden became the first president to join a picket line, in a show of support for autoworkers. The Biden administration has proposed ambitious climate regulations aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes, although this shift may impact autoworkers, as assembly of all-electric vehicles requires fewer laborers.

As part of his efforts to gain union support, Mr. Biden praised union leaders at the event, particularly Shawn Fain, the president of the U.A.W., though he did not secure the union’s endorsement. While Mr. Fain expressed concerns about the transition to electric vehicles, the relationship between the U.A.W. and the administration showed signs of improvement after Mr. Biden supported striking autoworkers and reached out to Mr. Fain during impactful moments.

The move toward electric vehicles will likely require retraining for many assembly workers, and the impact on the workforce remains uncertain. Former assembly line worker Kristine Lynn expressed mixed emotions about the shift, acknowledging the inevitable changes in job roles and tasks, such as the disappearance of her previous job involving the installation of gas tanks in automobiles.

**Focus keyword: labor support Illinois**

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