US President Barack Obama will address members of the United Auto Workers union Tuesday as Republicans hold a key primary contest in Michigan, home to the US automobile industry.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the president will speak at the annual UAW community action program conference, which will bring together 1,700 of the union’s leaders from across the country.
“At the conference, the president will discuss the steps we must take to create an economy built to last, an economy where everybody has a fair shot, where the middle class and those fighting to get into it get a fair shake,” Earnest said.
He will discuss the 2009 bailout of the US auto industry, which cost more than $50 billion but, according to White House officials, created approximately 200,000 new jobs over the past three years, Earnest said.
Republicans will hold a primary election in Michigan on Tuesday.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on CNN television Friday, said the bailout of the automobile industry had worked only partially.
Moreover, in Gingrich’s view, it has dangerously increased the power of the United Auto Workers union.
“It has shifted the balance of power inside the companies decisively,” he said. “And remember: Chrysler is now Fiat. So you saved an American company by making it not an American company.”