DemDaily: Labor Backs Biden

July 20, 2023

In a unified sign of support, the General Board of the American Federation of Labor-Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) voted on Friday to endorse President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for reelection in 2024.

The AFL-CIO is an umbrella group of 60 national and international labor unions representing 12.5 million members.

"The largest labor mobilization in history begins today, supercharged by the excitement and enthusiasm of hundreds of thousands of union volunteers who will work tirelessly to reelect a president they know has our backs and will always fight for us." -- AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler 6/16/23

The historic vote marks the earliest the AFL-CIO has endorsed in a presidential election, unleashing the full power of labor -- traditionally the backbone of organizing in elections, with thousands of state and local affiliates that have the ability to turn out their membership in mass numbers.

Union members are heavily concentrated in crucial Midwest and Rust Belt swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the latter three of which Biden narrowly won in 2020.

The endorsement comes with the financial resources of supporting unions. In 2020 labor unions contributed over $1 million to the Biden-Harris campaign directly, and invested over $26.2 million in outside organizations supporting their election.

Biden, touted as the most pro-labor president in American history, has delivered for working people on an unprecedented scale since taking office 17 months ago.

"From bringing manufacturing jobs home to America to protecting our pensions and making historic investments in infrastructure, clean energy and education, we’ve never seen a president work so tirelessly to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out. We’ve never seen a president more forcefully advocate for workers’ fundamental right to join a union," said Shuler.

Although the AFL-CIO and a majority of national labor unions endorsed Biden in 2020, Donald Trump, who once campaigned as a champion of workers, still secured 40% of the vote in union households compared to Biden's 57%. In 2016, Trump garnered 42% of union households compared to 51% which voted for Hillary Clinton.

“Our country is in far better shape today because of [Biden and Harris'] leadership," said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. "This election is between a president who respects and protects working people and political extremists hellbent on reversing our progress and destroying our fundamental freedoms.”

Unions experienced unrelenting attacks under the Trump administration on everything from trade, pensions and infrastructure, to healthcare, deregulation and assaults on collective bargaining rights. Among the greatest, ongoing, blows have come through wars waged in Trump-appointed courts and Republican-controlled legislatures.

The AFL-CIO's endorsement came on the eve of Biden's rally at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Saturday, the first of his presidential reelection campaign. Since announcing in April, the campaign has focused primarily on fundraising for the year's second quarter report, which concludes at the end of the month.

In addition to the AFL-CIO, 17 unions have issued their own endorsements of the Biden-Harris campaign, including the Actors' Equity Association; Amalgamated Transit Union; American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Communications Workers of America (CWA); International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (BEW); International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers; Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA); National Education Association (NEA); National Nurses United (NNU); Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and UNITE HERE.

"President Biden has been an unwavering champion of the labor movement his entire career...this campaign will honor that commitment by working to earn each and every vote come November 2024," said Biden-Harris Campaign Manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez, who is also the granddaughter of the late United Farm Workers Union labor leader César Chávez.

The labor endorsements follow the joint announcement by major national environmental groups last Wednesday of their support for Biden-Harris' reelection. Those include the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and NextGen America.

DemDaily: Biden: No One Left Behind 5/5/23
DemDaily: Biden Back In The Fight 4/25/23

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Sources: AFL-CIO, AP, Biden Harris Campaign, NPR, The Hill, CNBC, SEIU, Open Secrets, Follow The Money, Blue Tent

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