“I’m going to be the strongest union president we’ve ever had”: Biden tells union workers at campaign shutdown in Pennsylvania

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (left) and former Vice President Joe Biden take part in a joint campaign event on 7/7/20. Biden spoke from the AFL-CIO Pennsylvania headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. (Screenshot)

American unions – not Wall Street – have helped build America’s middle class and will do it again, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Monday as he gave a Labor Day speech in a must-see state in front of a critical audience: unionized workers.

“I’m going to be the strongest union president we’ve ever had,” Biden said in a virtual town hall with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Biden spoke from the AFL-CIO Pennsylvania headquarters in Harrisburg on a Labor Day Monday.

Biden told an audience of 2,700 union members logged in on Facebook across the country that “it’s not enough to congratulate our essential workers, we have to pay them.” He has vowed to personally attack corporate executives who interfere with organizational efforts.

“It’s not the financial wizards of Wall Street that make this country work – it’s you, the core workers,” Biden said. “Wall Street didn’t build this country… it was built by unions.

Biden made organized labor support one of the main boards of his campaign platform. He proposed, among other things, to encourage unionization and collective bargaining.

He also called for the passage of a law known as “The Butch Lewis LawWhich would support some 300 multi-employer pension plans across the country by creating a new agency within the US Treasury Department that would administer loans to cash-strapped pension plans using the money from the sale of long-term obligations.

“If I’m in the Oval Office, guess who will be there with me: the unions,” Biden said, also calling for passage of the stalled HEROES law, which would provide a new round of coronavirus relief for workers and cash-strapped state and local governments.

Hours before Biden’s speech, President Donald Trump spoke from the South Portico of the White House, where he vowed to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine, possibly even “during the month of OctoberThe Washington Post reported. He shot Biden, accusing the Democratic candidate of “shipping our jobs, opening our borders and sending our young people to fight in these endless mad wars.”

Trump again rejected a published report, citing unnamed senior military personnel, who said they called the US military “losers” and “suckers,” calling it a hoax, the Post reported.

On Monday, his voice rising in anger, Biden mingled with Trump over the remarks, which have now been confirmed by several news outlets, including Fox News, which later tried to come back to the story.

“He’s never gonna understand… he’s not made of the same material as us,” Biden said.

Then, referring to his late son Beau Biden, the Delaware attorney general-elect and former member of the Delaware Army National Guard, Biden said his son “did not serve with losers and suckers. . He served with heroes. He served with American heroes.

Handsome biden died of an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2015.

The starting gun

Labor Day marks the traditional start of the fall campaign. And Biden’s Keystone State appearance, his second in a week, comes as the former vice president’s campaign and Trump’s re-election campaign focus increased resources on Pennsylvania.

Trump campaigned in Westmoreland County late last week, days after Biden made fiery remarks in Pittsburgh, where he criticized Trump’s response to anti-racism protests in Kenosha, Wis., And elsewhere in the country. Vice President Mike Pence was in the state on September 1.

Trump won Keystone State by less than a percentage point in 2016. While Republicans have seen recent voter registration gains, suggesting GOP voters are growing more energetic as the season of Fall campaign officially begins, Biden still has an advantage in statewide polls. Since Monday, Biden held an average lead of 4.2 percent on Trump in Pennsylvania, averaged over RealClear Politics polls.

Central Pennsylvania and the White House Race

Harrisburg Democrat turned out for Hillary Clinton in 2016, where the former Secretary of State beat Trump 49-46 percent. Trump prevailed in the other two counties that now make up the 10th Congressional District, Cumberland and York counties.

The district, which was redesigned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2018, is now considerably more purple. Republican United States Representative Scott Perry, who now holds the seat, is considered one of the most vulnerable congressmen in the country, which also means the district is expected to be competitive for Biden in 2020.

“Suburban voters in Dauphin, York and Cumberland counties are frustrated and want a reasonable alternative,” said York County State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and Democratic candidate for the seat.

“People want a reasonable alternative,” and Biden presents that alternative, he added.

The role of organized labor

The support and participation of unions will be essential to Democrats’ chances this fall. Biden’s running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Was in Wisconsin on Monday, where she shut down the Labor Day campaign. Pence was also to campaign there, according to published reports.

Union leaders were forced to do some serious soul-searching in 2016 after unionized households failed to show up for Clinton, despite a massive awareness-raising effort, Politico reported at the time. Unlike Clinton, however, Biden has strong ties to organized labor, and officials believe it will make a difference in 2020.

“Joe Biden has been a friend of the unions for decades,” AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Frank Snyder told Capital-Star on Monday. “Our members remember when Joe did this and that,” on behalf of the union in Washington.

In a joint interview, Snyder and AFL-CIO Pennsylvania President Rick Bloomingdale said the union expects similar outreach to its members in 2020. Mail-in ballots will begin to be sent to dozens. thousands of Pennsylvanians, including unionized workers, from September 14.

“We have 50 days to vote in Pennsylvania,” Snyder said. “We have conveyed the message to our members, we will continue to step up our preparations… You plan the work, you work the plan.”

Bloomingdale has sharply criticized Trump’s efforts to undermine postal voting. The president falsely claimed on the stump that postal voting is ripe for fraud and will allow Democrats to steal the election. He had the same contempt for a bill, sponsored by the Pennsylvania legislative Republicans, that would effectively ban drop boxes.

“I think they’re doing it because Trump told them to,” Bloomingdale told The Capital-Star on Monday. “No one said drop boxes were a problem when the bill was passed. Last year they were safe, and now they’re not… it’s just a political coup.

Biden meets with Lancaster County voters

Biden met with union leaders and voters in Lancaster County ahead of his Harrisburg stop. The discussion took place in the courtyard of a Biden supporter in the midday sun. Biden was seated in a chair in a semicircle with two union members seated on one side and two on the other.

Frank Sirianni, president of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, told the former vice president that “our union members are better because of you,” adding that the job “couldn’t ask for a best friend to be president. of the United States. “

Bob Faust, a retired ironworker, said he tried to get an autograph from Biden years ago, but the Secret Service said he couldn’t get a pen. He said he was able to send his children to college on union pay.

Biden asked National Guard member Howard Nash, how his colleagues reacted to the remarks reported by Trump that the military are “losers” and “suckers”.

“Do you think most of these guys are suckers?” Biden asked

“No,” Nash replied.

In Harrisburg, a look of visible pain crossed the face of Ty Rewolinsky, a retired Marine who has toured Iraq twice, as he spoke about Trump’s remarks on the military.

“It made me feel horrible,” said Rewolinsky, who added that he was voting for Biden.

Back in Lancaster, Patty Bowermaster of Local 1156 said Trump’s executive orders had been devastating for unions and collective bargaining. She said they have drained the ability to properly represent employee negotiators.

“We need you,” she told Biden.

The USA Today pool reports are included in this story.

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