Former VP Joe Biden to meet with General Motors strikers in KCK Sunday

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Kansas City, Kansas, Sunday, according to local Democratic Party officials.

The candidate will join employees of the General Motors Fairfax plant who are striking after contract negotiations between United Auto Workers and the company reached a standstill last week.

According to Facebook posts from the Lee’s Summit Democrats and Jackson County Democrats, Biden will be at the UAW Local 31 location from 2:15 to 3:15 Sunday.

The strike started last week when 150 people walked out of the Fairfax assembly plant at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The union workers are asking for better wages, profit sharing, job security and changes to the company’s treatment of temporary workers.

One striker told The Star Monday that they are prepared to spend “as long as it takes.”

The Fairfax plant, which builds the Chevy Malibu and Cadillac XT4, employs 2,421 people.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, visited the plant Thursday to show her support.

The nationwide strike, the first of its kind since 2007, has stopped factory lines at 53 GM facilities.

Biden is one of many Democratic presidential candidates arriving at picket lines.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar went to Detroit Thursday and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan met Monday with strikers in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM halted production earlier this year, laying off 1,400 employees.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders plan to visit strikers later in the week.

In a tweet Saturday, Biden expressed his support for the strikers.

“Proud to stand with @UAW to demand fair wages and benefits for their members. America’s workers deserve better,” the post said.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver has endorsed Biden in the Democratic primary for president.

Biden will be the third presidential candidate to visit the Kansas City area recently. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke visited over the summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.