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AFSCME Endorses Biden, Lauding His Robust Pro-Worker Record

Former Vice President Joe Biden (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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AFSCME, a union of 1.4 million public service workers nationwide, on Monday 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 held 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,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement. “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.”

AFSCME pointed to Biden’s platform, which, among other things, calls for protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law 10 years ago today; increasing college affordability and alleviating student debt, including for people who work in public service; and strengthening the freedom of all workers to bargain collectively and join together in unions.

A Champion for Working People

Saunders praised Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the only other candidate left in the Democratic primary, for elevating working people’s concerns to the forefront of the national debate.

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

Examples of Trump’s anti-worker record include:

  • A trillion dollar tax giveaway that overwhelmingly benefits the rich;
  • Relentless efforts – through legislation, regulation and the courts – to take health care coverage away from working families, including protections for preexisting 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.

“The contrast in the upcoming general election could not be clearer. 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,” Saunders said. “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.”

Rather than 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.

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 informed members about the candidates’ platforms and conducted polling that gave members the chance to register their views.

“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,” Saunders said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime election. There is no higher priority than denying Donald Trump a second term.”

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