Skip to content
Asked about auto walkout, Tim Scott praises Reagan’s firing of workers


On Monday, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina took a tougher stance on striking auto workers than many of his fellow Republican presidential candidates, saying it didn’t make sense for workers want higher wages for shorter work weeks and noting with approval that President Ronald Reagan had laid off federal employees. to strike.

“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal workers decided to strike,” Mr. Scott said at a campaign event in Iowa, in response to a constituent who asked him if he was going to “fit” into the United States. Auto workers speak as president. “He said, ‘You hit, you’re fired.’ A simple concept for me, as far as we can use it again.

He then criticized federal funding for private-sector union pension plans and said of the UAW dispute: “The other thing that’s really important in this deal is they want more money in working fewer hours. They want more benefits by working fewer days.

In “America, it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “That’s not common sense.”

Members of the United Auto Workers union led a targeted strike Friday against three automakers: General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Workers are demanding raises of up to 40 percent – ​​which would match their companies’ executive pay increases over the past decade – and four-day work weeks, as well as adjustments to the cost of life and restoration of previously lost pensions.

Despite Mr. Scott’s approving reference to Reagan, who fired thousands of striking air traffic controllers in 1981, United Auto Workers members are not federal employees and cannot be fired by the president. Federal labor law also protects them against dismissal by their employer due to a strike.

Mr. Scott’s campaign highlighted the rest of his response — his rejection of taxpayer funding for any deal — and said Reagan’s part had referred to federal workers, not the UAW. But she declined to respond on the record when asked why he brought up the Reagan issue. firing federal workers if it had nothing to do with the UAW dispute.

“Senator Scott has made it clear repeatedly, both at this and other events, that Joe Biden should not leave taxpayers on the hook for a labor deal,” a spokesperson for campaign, Matt Gorman.

Mr. Scott’s criticism of workers’ demands sets him apart from other Republican candidates who have commented on the UAW strike, although not all have taken a position. While most other candidates have criticized unions in general, with a particularly vocal stance toward teachers’ unions, they have generally expressed sympathy for the economic concerns of autoworkers.

Former President Donald J. Trump actively attempted to court strikers while denouncing their leaders; he portrayed workers as victims of the Biden administration’s rules aimed at ensuring that two-thirds of new passenger cars sold in the United States are electric by 2032.

Three other candidates, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, also discussed promoting electric vehicles by offering sympathy, directly or indirectly, to workers. Mr. Pence also focused on inflation, while denying that the growing gap between worker and managerial wages is a factor – although workers themselves have cited it.