AFSCME Endorses Joe Biden, “A Champion for Working People”

AFSCME Endorses Joe Biden, “A Champion for Working People”

Joe Biden (file photo)

Presidential race now a “once in a lifetime” decision between a seasoned leader “with a gut level understanding of what keeps working people up at night” and a president who “kicks working people to the curb”
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union of 1.4 million public service workers nationwide, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for President.

The endorsement was made by a unanimous vote of the union’s 35-member International Executive Board, which convened its quarterly meeting by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For decades, Joe Biden has been a champion for working people, the labor movement and public service workers,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “He shares our values, and he will fight for our voice on the job and our seat at the table. He has a gut-level understanding of the challenges and struggles keeping working families awake at night. He knows that the union difference means better jobs and stronger communities, an economy that extends opportunity to everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

Vice President Biden’s pro-worker platform includes:
  • Supporting state and local governments to ensure public service workers have the tools they need to do their jobs;
  • Protecting and expanding on the Affordable Care Act to lower costs, increase choice and simplify the system;
  • Increasing college affordability and alleviating student debt, including for people who work in public service;
  • Strengthening the freedom of all workers to bargain collectively and join together in a union.

By contrast, President Donald Trump, despite promising to look out for America’s “forgotten” men and women, has further rigged the economy against them, enriching himself and his billionaire friends, including:

  • A trillion dollar tax giveaway overwhelmingly benefitting the rich;
  • Relentless efforts – through legislation, regulation and the courts – to take health care coverage away from working families, including protections for pre-existing conditions;
  • Attacks on civil rights, including workers’ rights by rewarding anti-worker advocates with powerful positions of influence;
  • Attacks on public education, retirement security and food assistance.

Instead of making an early endorsement, AFSCME encouraged all the candidates to engage with members and learn more about their work in public service.

The result was a primary campaign that put labor’s priorities front and center, with candidates embracing unions unapologetically, in a way unseen in national politics in many years.

In August 2019, AFSCME hosted the 2020 Public Service Forum in Las Vegas, where members had the opportunity to hear from and pose questions to 19 presidential candidates.

Similar gatherings were held around the Iowa and Nevada caucuses. AFSCME also educated members about the candidates’ platforms and conducted polls that gave members the opportunity to register their views.

“The contrast in the upcoming general election could not be clearer,” Saunders added. “The last several weeks have demonstrated more clearly than ever that Donald Trump, in addition to pursuing an agenda that kicks working people to the curb, does not have the right stuff to capably lead the nation through a grave public health crisis. He has tried every way possible to destroy the Affordable Care Act – even supporting a lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court to have it ruled unconstitutional –and leave Americans with pre-existing conditions out in the cold. This is not the moment, in the middle of a pandemic, to undermine people’s health care.

“Vice President Biden is equal to the task and then some. He is a seasoned leader with the temperament and character to help Americans pull together in challenging and uncertain times. And he recognizes the urgency of helping public service workers who are on the front lines of containing the coronavirus pandemic.

“This has been a competitive and spirited battle for the Democratic nomination, with all candidates making valuable contributions to the debate over the country’s future. But now is the moment for unity and solidarity. The stakes are too high for anything less. This is a once-in-a-lifetime election. There is no higher priority than denying Donald Trump a second term. It is time for Democrats, union members and all working people to organize and mobilize to make Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States.”

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