“The truth of the matter is you built the middle class. Labor built the middle class. And there’s a reason why the middle class is shrinking,” said Biden in an address to the United Automobile Workers Community Action Program Conference in Washington, D.C.

“I know I got in trouble for saying this before, but I’m going to say it again. You guys are the only guys keeping the barbarians at the gate, man. That’s the deal,” he added.

In his address, Biden lamented the setbacks faced by the labor movement in recent years and said they should be heralded by the American public for the benefits they helped win for all workers.