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Marco Rubio

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Union members picket outside a General Motors facility in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, in September 2019. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

Last week, 48,000 UAW members walked off General Motors’ factory floors and warehouses in the company’s first strike in 12 years. The issues in contention — negotiations over wages, benefits and factory locations — are deeply important.

I’m not a participant on either side of the strike, nor am I in a position to mediate who is right or wrong on each item being negotiated. I am, however, a federal policymaker, and know that when I consider the issues facing the United States, there is a need to recognize our national obligations to one another and to the country as Americans.

For UAW members and the overwhelming majority of workers, understanding this obligation is straightforward. These workers aren’t line items on a ledger, but essential contributors to GM’s extraordinary success. Their livelihoods, their families’ future, and the vitality of their communities rely on the ability of American companies to provide dignified work.

For companies like GM, national obligation is a more complicated affair. GM is one of the great icons of American innovation. But the world is a very different place than it was 111 years ago when William Durant, who made his money building horse-drawn carriages, first incorporated the company. Its customers and........