Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) brushed off a labor rights complaint from the United Auto Workers (UAW) on Friday, saying the union wants to “threaten” him.
The complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, filed by UAW President Shawn Fain on Thursday, alleges that Scott violated his campaign staff’s federally-protected right to strike by endorsing former President Ronald Reagan’s firing of striking workers.
Scott shot back at the union on Friday.
“The UAW is one of the most corrupt and scandal-plagued unions in America,” Scott said in a statement. “They are showing their true colors once again and autoworkers and taxpayers will be left holding the bag together. They want to threaten me and shut me up.”
“They don’t scare me. I will truly fight for American workers and jobs, promote the dignity of work, and end the Biden retreat from the values that make our nation exceptional,” he added.
The complaint was sparked by Scott’s comments at a campaign stop in Iowa on Monday.
“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” Scott said in Iowa. “He said, ‘You strike, you’re fired.’ Simple concept to me, to the extent that we can use that once again.”
Fain denounced Scott’s statements on Thursday.
“Just another example of how the employer class abuses the working class in America, employers willfully violate labor law with little to no repercussions,” he said. “Time for more stringent laws to protect workers rights!!”
Scott also used the response to criticize President Biden, who has backed the UAW strikes. He announced Friday that he will visit workers on the picket lines in Michigan next week.
“American workers continue to witness how a weak president leads to all sorts of chaos at home and abroad,” Scott said.
“Joe Biden and Big Labor bosses are undermining the dignity of work and setting autoworkers up for failure. They’re playing politics with people’s lives.
The UAW strike against the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — began last week. It expanded Friday, with the union announcing that 38 GM and Stellantis plants across the country will join the strike.
“We will shut down parts distribution until those two companies come to their senses and come to the table with a serious offer,” Fain said.
Fain said Ford had made progress in negotiations with the union and strikes against the company would not expand.
Demands are focused on higher wages, shorter work weeks, union representation for battery plant workers and better retirement benefits — including restored pensions for new hires.
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