WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will tout his pro-labor bona fides on Saturday at his first major political rally since he formalized his reelection campaign, appearing alongside union members to make his case that his economic agenda is boosting the middle class.
His campaign says Biden, who will appear at the Philadelphia Convention Center, will “lay out the core principles of his economic message” in his remarks. Biden also plans to talk about how a sweeping climate, tax and health care package he signed into law last year has cut the cost of prescription drugs and lowered insurance premiums, as his administration focuses on his achievements his first two years the centerpiece argument for his reelection.
Ahead of the event, several of the nation’s most powerful unions — including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — officially endorsed Biden’s campaign. The first-of-its-kind joint endorsement among the unions and the backdrop of hundreds of workers are all part of a meticulously choreographed effort to show the support of labor behind what Biden himself calls the most pro-union president in history.
“Every major labor union in the country is endorsing me” on Saturday, Biden told reporters ahead of a fundraiser in Connecticut on Friday evening. “I’m saying that my philosophy about building from the middle out and the bottom up is working.”
The campaign event also comes amid some encouraging economic news for Biden, with inflation cooling last month, continuing a steady decline in consumer prices primarily driven by lower gas prices, a smaller rise in grocery costs than in previous months and less expensive furniture, air fares and appliances.
Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania have long been at the heart of Biden’s political efforts, as he headquartered his 2020 campaign in the city and the state was one of a handful that had voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but flipped back to Democrats four years later.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said some union members supported Trump in the past because “there is a lot of grievance in this country and there is a lot of unhappiness. And what Trump was a master at was being able to exploit fear and exploit grievance.”
She said part of the reason the AFT and other top unions endorsed Biden nearly 18 months before Election Day 2024 was to promote Biden’s economic record against Republican-championed culture war issues.
Biden is “going to feel very, very comfortable when he’s in Philadelphia. He’s going to be among friends,” added Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He pushed for a coordinated endorsement of Biden’s reelection campaign from top unions early in the cycle.
Until now, Biden’s primary campaign activity has been fundraising. He raised cash at a private home in Greenwich, Connecticut, on Friday and will head to fundraisers in California, Maryland, Illinois and New York ahead of the second quarter fundraising deadline on June 30.
Seung Min Kim And Will Weissert, The Associated Press