PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Democrat Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in April at a Teamsters union hall in Pittsburgh, the one-time U.S. steel capital, a well-choreographed show intended to prove that blue-collar voters were central to his effort to win the White House.
“I make no apologies. I am a union man,” he declared.
Philadelphia - Biden - Tuesday - Dozen - Candidates
But in Philadelphia, where Biden on Tuesday will be among a half dozen Democratic presidential candidates appearing at what labor union federation the AFL-CIO has billed as a “Workers’ Presidential Summit,” there are signs of cracks in Biden’s union support.
Philadelphia for Biden is not just any city. It is home to his campaign headquarters, the biggest city in his home state of Pennsylvania, and an area that has long been home to oil refineries — and their union employees. And it is just miles from Delaware, which he represented in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years.
Dozen - Union - Leaders - Workers - Reuters
More than a dozen current and former union leaders and workers who spoke to Reuters recently in Philadelphia, questioned Biden’s loyalty.
In embracing calls to phase out the fossil fuel industry that many of the region’s pipefitters and steelworkers rely on for jobs, they say, the former vice president and Democratic front-runner risks losing his “hard-hat” appeal in a critical swing state.
Biden - Votes - Plant - Ryan - O'Callaghan
“I think Biden has taken our votes for granted. Our plant closed and we didn’t hear from him, said Ryan O’Callaghan, the former union head of a now-shuttered Philadelphia refinery.
The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, the largest and oldest on the U.S. East Coast, closed its doors in August after a massive fire, idling more than 1,000 employees including some 650 union workers.
Biden - Job - Cuts - Battleground - State
For Biden, large job cuts in a key battleground state could have been a ready-made opportunity to burnish his blue-collar bona fides and force Republican President Donald Trump...
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