Biden meets with Teamsters leaders as he seeks crucial union endorsement

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President Joe Biden met on Tuesday with leaders from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as he tries to court the crucial union vote ahead of November.

Biden is competing with former President Donald Trump for a Teamsters endorsement. With more than 1 million members, the union is one of the largest in the world and has a large presence in several battleground states.

Biden’s campaign said the president “appreciated the opportunity to discuss his historic, pro-union record with the Teamsters,” and they “agreed on the importance of protecting Social Security and Medicare, so that workers who have paid into them their entire career can retire with dignity.”

Trump met with the Teamsters earlier this year. The group twice endorsed against Trump, backing Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, but has not made an announcement for 2024. The union was not expected to deliver an immediate endorsement on Tuesday.

Trump has made appealing to union members, a traditionally Democratic voting bloc, a key part of his strategy for winning over working-class voters, especially in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – all three of which broke for Biden in the 2020 election after backing Trump four years earlier.

Biden has already received one critical union endorsement: the United Auto Workers backed him during their Washington meeting in January.

UAW President Shawn Fain said Biden had earned the group’s endorsement, noting he was the first sitting president to stand alongside union members on a picket line during a strike in Michigan last year.

“Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American workers,” Fain said in January. “We need to know who’s going to sit in the most powerful seat in the world and help us win as a united working class. So if our endorsement must be earned, Joe Biden has earned it.”

Fain was in the audience for Biden’s State of the Union address last Thursday.

Biden has long presented himself as “the most pro-union president ever,” but an endorsement from union leadership doesn’t necessarily translate into support from rank-and-file members.

Ahead of Biden’s meeting with Teamsters leadership on Tuesday, the president’s campaign is pointed to what they say is the president’s historic support for organized labor, touting wins for unions under his administration while highlighting action under Trump “that hurt federal workers’ ability to organized.”

“The president is proud to have strengthened union protections and created millions of union jobs, and he appreciates the opportunity to discuss his historic record with the Teamsters and earn their support,” a Biden campaign spokesperson told CNN in a statement Monday.

In addition, the campaign is touting “historic” wins for unions under Biden’s presidency, including new contracts from the Longshoreman’s unions, the WGA, and Teamster’s union contracts with Anheuser-Busch.

The Teamsters’ political committee gave $45,000 each to the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee in January, around the same time that former Trump met with the organization’s leadership, FEC records show.

Trump met with Teamsters leader Sean O’Brien at Mar-a-Lago late last year as well.

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