(Bloomberg) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence laid the blame for the United Auto Workers strike against Detroit’s Big Three legacy automakers on President Joe Biden’s economic policies, saying it was the result of inflation cutting into wages and a transition to electric vehicles that threatens jobs.
Most Read from Bloomberg
“Joe Biden has weakened this country at home and abroad. That gusher of spending when they came into office, $2 trillion in unnecessary spending launched the worst inflation in forty years. Wages just haven’t kept up,” Pence said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“The backdrop of what’s happening between the Big Three and the UAW today is that American workers are hurting. I hear it everywhere I go across the country,” he added. “People are struggling to pay for groceries, they are struggling to pay for gasoline at the pump.”
Pence spoke hours after Biden said he was dispatching top administration officials to Detroit to help end an unprecedented walkout by the United Auto Workers that is targeting all three of Detroit’s legacy automakers.
Biden urged the car companies to offer more concessions in order to end the strike, which threatens to damage the American economy and the president’s efforts to transition the country to electric vehicles.
Read More: Automakers, UAW Spend Strike’s First Day in War of Words
The president said automakers had enjoyed “record corporate profits” in recent years and that a fair deal would share those gains with workers.
An extended work stoppage could have ripple effects, upending supply chains and raising prices for cars. At the center of the dispute over wages and job security are Biden’s efforts to push the manufacturing of EVs. The UAW fears the transition will result in fewer jobs for union workers at lower pay.
Pence’s fellow Republican rivals for the party’s nomination have also singled out Biden’s clean-energy agenda, saying it will saddle consumers with higher prices for cars while eliminating auto jobs.
“I will tell you what I’m hearing around the country is that auto workers are very concerned about Joe Biden’s Green New Deal, heavy-handed effort to use taxpayer dollars to drive these automotive companies into electric vehicle production,” Pence said Friday.
“I mean, you have 145,000 workers out there that many of them have built a lifetime of making gasoline-powered cars, and suddenly they see Joe Biden and liberal Democrats pushing down this electric vehicle agenda.”
Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the nomination, said last week that Biden’s policies would “murder” the US auto industry. Trump has urged the union, which backed Biden in 2020 but has yet to endorse his reelection bid, to support him instead.
--With assistance from Joe Mathieu.
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.