Biden touts labor unions in South Korea visit

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President Biden emphasized the importance of unions Friday during a visit to a South Korean factory.

Biden, speaking at the Republic of Korea’s Samsung manufacturing facility, boasted extensively about the quality of American union labor. In what has become an increasingly central message for his administration in recent weeks, Biden’s speech positioned him as a reinvigorated advocate of organized labor.

“I heard Samsung is the largest of any company in the United States to enter partnerships with our most highly skilled and dedicated, engaged workers you can find anywhere in the world – American union members,” Biden said in his remarks.

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“Every joint venture that manufactures electric vehicle batteries would be made stronger by collective bargaining relationships with American unions,” Biden boasted during his speech at Samsung. 

President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol deliver remarks as they vist the Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek campus, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol deliver remarks as they vist the Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek campus, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The president went on to build up the quality of work available from union-made American products, commenting that the newest Samsung production facility would be constructed in Texas with union labor.

“We also have outstanding, skilled, dedicated union building and construction trade workers ready to build a new Samsung facility in Texas,” the president added. “So let’s work together to make this happen and to get that plant built on time and on budget safely and efficiently. Because union labor means high quality work that delivers the best possible return on investment.”

Last week, a group of union leaders were invited to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. Biden made a surprise appearance at the event, which was attended by organizers from the Amazon Labor Union, Starbucks Works United, and more.

President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visit the Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek campus, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. 

President Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visit the Samsung Electronics Pyeongtaek campus, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Biden was joined on stage by Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who explained the increasingly intertwined supply chain between South Korean electronics and United States manufacturing.

“We handle the semiconductor materials and equipment providers in the US, such as Lam Research and Dupont are also industrial in Korea,” Korea’s head of state said. “Translating into strong partnerships with Korea and semiconductor companies. At the same time, we are witnessing active cooperation between our two nations in this field.”

“The U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea) Semiconductor Partnership dialog that launched last year has led to cooperation for not only the semiconductor supply chain but also joint projects for investment in talent and technology,” he added.

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