Biden Hears Frustration From Labor Union In His Campaign's Backyard

KCRW | 8/30/2019 | Scott Detrow
Click For Photo: https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2019/08/30/gettyimages-1140231573_wide-1f6405ca1cf312508ae09500226af8c1745148a0.jpg

Former Vice President Joe Biden plays up his Pennsylvania roots as much as anything and has heavily courted organized labor in his presidential campaign, but a key union in Biden's backyard is feeling neglected by the leading Democratic candidate.

At issue is a forum the AFL-CIO's Philadelphia branch is holding Sept. 17, which the union is branding a Workers' Presidential Summit. Seven candidates have agreed to attend so far, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. But Biden is not among them.

Heart - Headquarters - Philadelphia - Folks - Importance

"He always calls himself a Pennsylvanian at heart. His headquarters are here in Philadelphia. But his folks haven't found the importance of coming together and talking to our workers. And so that's very disappointing," AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council President Pat Eiding told NPR. "There's got to be some respect for the working people, if they want their vote."

The 150,000-member union is a key political player in the most important Democratic region of what could be the most important swing state of the 2020 presidential campaign, where total union membership in 2018 was about 700,000, over 12% of the state's workforce.

Leadership - Biden - Opening - Hours - Run

The leadership has been feeling slighted by Biden since the opening hours of his presidential run. The day he announced his candidacy in a video, Biden traveled to Philadelphia for a high-dollar fundraiser organized by David L. Cohen, the senior executive vice president of Comcast.

Biden held his first campaign rally at a Pittsburgh union hall three days later, but Eiding and his members were annoyed. "Our good friend Joe Biden, from down the road a bit, he makes his announcement in Philadelphia," Eiding said. "First place he goes is [the home of] the head of Comcast. No connection with labor. And they go forward. And it was a little disturbing because I...
(Excerpt) Read more at: KCRW
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