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UNION JOE: Biden earns Building Trades Union endorsement with infrastructure efforts

UNION JOE: Biden earns Building Trades Union endorsement with infrastructure efforts

President Joe Biden has always enjoyed the moniker “Union Joe” because he supports the powerful union movement in their ongoing negotiations with management and ownership. Union membership, it must be noted, consists primarily of non-college wage-earners, the type of people normally considered to be Donald Trump’s base — all of which makes Biden’s latest victory in that sector that much sweeter.

On Wednesday, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) will endorse President Biden over Donald Trump, which will be one of the earliest presidential endorsements ever.

The victory is neither symbolic nor is it window dressing. The union consists of 250,000 members concentrated in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It also includes three million members nationwide.

Not only can the union deliver votes from a group that might normally be considered a bastion of Trump voters, but the endorsement comes with a commitment to an eight-figure organizing program.

This is big. It’s very big and based on real performance.

The endorsement is based primarily on one of the biggest pieces of legislation ever passed through Congress, one that Trump promised unions but Biden actually delivered. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill allocated needed funds to modernize the country’s roads, airports, harbors, and other critical economic engines and to pay the people who work on the projects.

NABTU President Sean McGarvey told CNN that the endorsement was not automatic. Leadership strongly supported Biden, but members were split evenly between the two candidates. It makes the victory that much sweeter.

McGarvey told CNN that even though the two candidates seem nearly identical in age, promises, and commitment to America first, Biden is far and away the better candidate for their union. It’s “almost like the perfect leader was sent at the perfect time for working people.”

Not only is the endorsement a major electoral and financial victory for the President, it is also a major loss for Trump. As  CNN explains:

“[U]nion leaders also want [the endorsement] to be seen as a stark rebuff of Trump, who eagerly solicited support from union members and leaders during his time in office, but, their leaders say, didn’t deliver. NABTU had called for Trump to resign after the January 6, 2021, insurrection.”

One may speculate on the fact that the endorsement will upset Trump enough that he will insult the union and its members for leaving him just as he needs support and cash. Lashing out and name-calling will do nothing but drive people who fit Trump’s natural voting base straight into Joe Biden’s hands.

Despite the fact that Joe Biden has always had a reputation as “union man Joe Biden” and a champion of wage earners, this endorsement continually came back to actual job performance and not reputations.

McGarvey cited “investments and union protections built into the infrastructure act, the Covid-era American Rescue Plan, the CHIPs Act to increase technological production nationwide, and the Inflation Reduction Act,” as justification for the endorsement.

He also poked at Donald Trump’s propensity to talk about getting things done and then failing to deliver, the opposite of Biden. McGarvey pointed to the differences in the candidates. “They think now Joe Biden and Trump are running again, they think it’s just two politicians, ‘Same old, same old, and behold, it’s not the same old, same old.”

His sentence could apply to a wide range of policies that have nothing to do with union benefits while perfectly targeted to this matter.

 Brent Booker, the president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, hit a particularly biting note when he said, “Donald Trump talked about infrastructure once a week, once a month, once a year. He was committed to it, it was going to be easy for him,”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan included a $65 billion commitment to green technology in the nation’s history. But Biden still craves a bill based solely on a commitment to clean energy, and he sells it by saying that when he considers a greener economy, he thinks of one thing: “jobs.”

Union leadership would be critical in getting such a bill passed.

This endorsement, one built on the recognition that President Biden promises work and then delivers, bodes well not only for the election but also for the future in a possible second term when the country will get another shot at a greener America — if, that is, Democrats regain control of both houses of Congress.

Biden delivers on those “jobs,” and unions thrive on big projects that require a highly experienced workforce, committed companies, and federal money — money that goes straight back into the U.S. economy — and money that Biden has proven he can deliver.

This is a win. It is a major win. If Trump had time on his hands to complain about anything beyond his criminal trials, he would be wailing away.

Meanwhile, “Union Joe” will shake hands on Wednesday at the announcement and then quietly say, “Now, let’s get to work.”

Perfect and important.

This report is based on original reporting by

Jason Miciak is an Editor at Large for Occupy Democrats.

Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.

For clarifications, comments, & typos, email:

Jason Miciak
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here:

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