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Urged John Cantrell of Oxford, Mich.: “Think about the negative impact a strike would have on you and your family.”

The president is counting upon union power and legwork to get out the vote as it did in the 2008 and for their unified support as he seeks new trade agreements that he argues will help bolster new jobs. At Thursday night’s state dinner honoring Mr. Lee, UAW President Bob King, as well as Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally sat at the head table along with Mr. Obama.