President Joe Biden kick-started his bid for re-election in Philadelphia by addressing union members, aiming to solidify his backing among working-class voters, particularly those of Caucasian descent. The rally held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center drew attention to Biden’s significant support from labor unions, representing approximately 18 million workers nationwide.
This early endorsement from prominent unions, including the AFL-CIO, which consists of 60 unions and over 12.5 million workers, marked the earliest endorsement in U.S. presidential election history, underscoring its importance in Biden’s pursuit of a second term. Notably, this event mirrored the beginning of his 2020 campaign, which commenced at a union hall in Pittsburgh.
Speaking before an audience of approximately 2,000 union members, Biden expressed gratitude for their unwavering support and acknowledged the pivotal role of labor in his re-election bid. He reiterated his commitment to pro-union policies, highlighting his advocacy for collective bargaining, the reversal of worker protection rollbacks, the revitalization of union membership, and the promotion of union labor in national infrastructure projects such as bridges and ports.
It didn’t take long for Biden to start detaching from reality. Biden claimed that if Wall Street bankers went on strike, no one would notice. He then proceeds to criticize the wealthy, whose worth top one billion, for paying as little as 8% in taxes. During the event, a man in the audience shouted, “What do you pay?” and Joe Biden replied, “I pay a hell of a lot more than that.” Refusing to provide an exact number, perhaps because he lied about paying a hell of a lot more, or he can’t remember. He emphasized the importance of the wealthy paying their fair share.
He told his audience that the Republicans were coming after their jobs. He did not mention that his administration was going after their gas stoves.
Biden then boasted about the positive economic developments during his tenure, noting the creation of over 13 million jobs since assuming office, including nearly 800,000 manufacturing positions. He once again expressed confidence in America’s potential to lead the world in manufacturing jobs. He mentioned a decline in inflation, which currently stands at half of what it was a year ago but is still much higher than when he took office.
Recent data reveals a mixed economic record for Biden. While overall employment has increased (notably due to the end of the pandemic lockdowns), the nation’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose from 3.4% in April to 3.7% in May. Additionally, polls indicate that most voters give Biden low ratings for his handling of the economy, largely due to persistently high inflation. Although inflation has shown some signs of easing, it remains higher than when Biden assumed office.
Over the course of 15 months, the Federal Reserve has increased benchmark interest rates by around five percentage points, leading to higher expenses for borrowing and credit usage. After a recent pause, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at the possibility of further rate hikes.
While inflation has slightly subsided, core inflation, which excludes volatile gas and food prices, remains high, with a 0.4% increase in May following consistent monthly increases averaging 0.4% in 2023.
Ronna McDaniel, the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, disagreed with Biden’s claims regarding economic progress. She argued that under Biden’s leadership, Pennsylvanians experienced a decline in savings and income, decreased economic confidence, and increased criminal activity. McDaniel believes that Biden’s presence on the campaign trail will only serve as a reminder of the hardships caused by his failed agenda.
During and before the campaign rally, Biden’s campaign was endorsed by major unions, including AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Since assuming office, Biden has consistently demonstrated strong support for labor unions and positioned himself as the “most pro-union president” in history. He has enacted legislation providing incentives for companies that employ union workers and has appointed pro-union judges to the Labor Relations Board. Additionally, Biden has secured legislative victories that mandate union labor in various sectors, ranging from semiconductors to roads and bridges.
It is worth noting that not all unions have pledged their support to Biden. For instance, the influential United Auto Workers has delayed endorsing the president due to concerns surrounding his push for an electric vehicle transition.
Elisabeth Messenger, CEO of Americans For Fair Treatment, a union watchdog organization, criticized the endorsement of Biden by major labor unions. In her statement, she contended that the AFL-CIO’s early endorsement exemplifies unions prioritizing politics over the representation of their members. Messenger believes that workers suffer when unions focus more on political matters than advocating for their constituents.