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State of the Union 2024: UAW president Shawn Fain to be Biden's guest

UAW President Shawn Fain on stage
UAW President Shawn Fain to attend President Joe Biden’s annual State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C. (Luis Yanez /
  • UAW President Shawn Fain among invited guests for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address
  • Detroit businesswoman Natalie King also expected to join First Lady Jill Biden’s viewing box
  • Fain is a vocal backer of Biden’s re-election bid and a nemesis to former President Donald Trump

LANSING — A month after rallying together in metro Detroit, President Joe Biden and United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain are set to reunite Thursday night in Washington D.C. 

Fain is among 20 guests invited to attend Biden's annual State of the Union Address, the White House announced. The speech is set to begin at 9 p.m.

The guests, who will join First Lady Jill Biden in a House gallery "viewing box," were selected because they "personify issues or themes" that Biden will address, or "embody" administration policies, the White House said.


Fain, a 29-year union member, last fall led a UAW strike that led to new contracts with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Those deals with Detroit’s Big Three prompted some non-union automakers to announce worker raises too.

Those pay raises were "further evidence that when unions do well, all workers do well," the White House said Thursday in announcing Fain’s visit, echoing comments Biden made last month in a campaign rally with the UAW president.

The State of the Union invite list includes another Michigander: Natalie King of Detroit, founder and CEO of Dunamis Charge, which the White House described as the nation’s first African-American women-owned electric vehicle charger manufacturing company.

Fain has emerged as a high-profile backer of Biden's re-election bid and a nemesis of former President Donald Trump, whose dominance in recent Republican primaries sets up a likely general election rematch with Biden. 

Biden and Trump have both worked to woo blue-collar workers in Michigan, a 2020 swing state that Biden won by 154,188 votes. 

Biden in September made history by joining striking UAW members on the picket line in metro Detroit, where he said unions had “built the middle class.”

Trump rallied with autoworkers and other supporters at a non-union shop the following day, predicting that Biden's support for electric vehicles could force future jobs cuts in a "transition to hell."

While the UAW endorsed Biden in January, Fain has acknowledged that many union members will not vote for Biden. 

But he has argued that the Democratic president has done more for autoworkers than Trump, who he's blasted as a "scab" who “stands against everything we stand for as a union, as a society.”

Trump has responded by repeatedly lashing out at Fain. In a social media post last month, Trump called Fain a  "real STIFF who is selling the Automobile Industry right into the big, powerful hands of China.”

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