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President Biden's primary purpose for visiting Illinois was to celebrate the end of the autoworkers' strike. During his visit to Belvidere, the President met with union leadership and workers, as Stellantis agreed to reopen its auto assembly plant. The move includes rehiring 1,200 employees to manufacture pickup trucks and creating 1,300 new positions for an electric vehicle battery factory.
Before addressing union members, President Biden donned a red United Auto Workers (UAW) shirt to loud cheers from the audience.
"We not only saved Belvidere, bringing back assembly jobs. We went even further. We secured over a thousand battery jobs for Belvidere with a minimum floor. You know, where the wage will be over $30 an hour by 2028," said Shawn Fain of the UAW.
"I strongly believe when a company transitions to a new technology, they should retool, reboot, and rehire in the same factories with the same workers and the same community that existed there before," President Biden added. "That's what you made happen here in Belvidere. It should happen all across America."
President Biden also highlighted that hundreds of thousands of charging stations for electric vehicles are being installed across the country by another union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
Meanwhile, in Chicago, where the President was set to attend a campaign fundraiser, his presence drew criticism. A protest had initially been scheduled to take place at Ida B Wells and Michigan Avenue, but was later moved to 401 N. Armour Street, over three miles away.
In Chicago, those who support Palestine have expressed dissatisfaction with how President Biden has handled the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Biden had requested billions of dollars to aid Israel, and the House approved $14.5 billion in funding today.
The President confirmed that he pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a three-day pause in the war, as Chicago protesters question what steps are being taken to protect innocent Palestinians caught in the middle of the conflict.
A similar protest in New York City, showing support for Palestine, attracted hundreds of demonstrators into the city on Thursday.