During a joint press conference, President Joe Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva unveiled a “workers’ rights” project to promote reorganizing their economies in response to purported climate change.
Awkward moments arose between the two leaders during the news conference that followed their second engagement of the year, including one in which Lula looked to expect a handshake from Biden, who instead turned his back and went offstage.
The befuddled Biden appeared to have difficulty detangling the earpiece that was supposed to translate Lula’s statements from Portuguese to English as he spoke.
Biden made his case for his “most pro-union administration in American history” and the positive effects on employment and wages that would result from eliminating fossil fuels, gas-powered vehicles, and other everyday necessities to combat climate change.
Less than a week after the United Auto Workers (UAW) union began a strike to demand fairer wages and worker contracts, President Biden called for eliminating existing conventional energy-based businesses. Nearly 13,000 workers in the American automobile industry are currently on strike, demanding, among other things, significant wage increases of up to 40% and changes to the system that would allow new workers to make the same as workers who served longer.
The demands for inflation protection are linked to the push for “green” industrial change; the $1.9 trillion “Inflation Reduction Act” favored “green” energy projects with millions in subsidies and other benefits, contributing considerably to America’s persistent inflation problems. UAW representatives have said they are not motivated to negotiate honestly with employees because of government subsidies and large bailout payments to big automakers.
Over 2,000 employees at General Motors and Stellantis, two companies hardest hit by the strike, were informed of layoffs on Wednesday.
Biden’s allegation that the removal of entire major industries to tackle purported climate change would result in a booming economy for workers was reinforced by Lula, who used his remarks to attack “neoliberal policies” for harming the global labor movement.
Lula said the US needed to look at what is occurring in Brazil at this historic moment of ecological transition and transforming the energy matrix, and he held up his government as an example for the US to follow.
The United States and Brazil, he said, are now at a new stage in their relationship, one in which they are sovereign equals with mutually beneficial trade and investment ties.