Stand By Your Man: AFL-CIO says it’s sticking with Biden
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House, Dec. 8, 2022, about the infusion of nearly $36 billion to shore up a financially troubled union pension plan, preventing severe cuts to the retirement incomes of more than 350,000 Teamster workers and retirees across the United States. Listening at right are AFL-CIO President Liz Schuler and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. | Susan Walsh / AP

WASHINGTON (PAI)—In 1968, country and western singer Tammy Wynette hit the top of the charts with the song “Stand By Your Man.” Well, that’s what the AFL-CIO is doing: Standing by its man, and woman, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

With flak flying from big Democratic donors and at least two incumbent lawmakers, scared that Biden is a political goner and will drag others—including pro-worker candidates—down this fall, the AFL-CIO is sticking by the Democratic Biden-Harris ticket, fed President Liz Shuler says.

That follows a Biden debate “performance” in late May where pundits emphasized his weaker voice and stumbles at the start over Donald Trump’s bluster, bragging, dictatorial plans, and outright lies.

Presumed Republican nominee Trump allegedly showed “strength,” according to many media commentators. It spooked Democratic bigwigs and two mainstream lawmakers, Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., a prominent Progressive Caucus member.

As for the AFL-CIO, which assembled a special conference last year in Philadelphia for a unions-wide endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket, it’s sticking with the president’s re-election campaign.

“The stakes of the 2024 presidential election couldn’t be higher, and no one understands this better than working people,” Shuler said in a July 3 statement. “Their livelihoods and union contracts are on the line. That is why the AFL-CIO endorsed” Biden and Harris a year ago, “earlier than we’ve ever endorsed in a presidential race, and why we continue to stand in strong support of them today.

“Labor runs on solidarity and no White House has supported workers like the Biden-Harris administration,” Shuler, an Electrical Worker, declared. “No president has been more invested in empowering workers and expanding the labor movement than Joe Biden, who has stood with working people at every opportunity, including on the picket line,” with the Auto Workers, a first.

Shuler pointed out that workers “are winning record contracts with double-digit raises” under Biden and Harris for the last 3-1/2 years. Those leading pacts include the Auto Workers’ contracts with the Detroit Three carmakers and the Teamsters’ contract with UPS.

“New organizing is surging, good jobs are coming to the United States, and pensions that millions of workers count on for retirement security are protected thanks to the American Rescue Plan,” Shuler added.

Biden and Harris “delivered day after day for working people, taking on corporate greed to balance the scales for workers. Now it’s time to finish the job with strong leadership for America’s future and bold policies that will benefit working people for generations to come.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have always had workers’ backs, and we will have theirs.”

The chattering class isn’t paying attention. Several now remind Biden of a 2020 promise he would be a transitional president while the Democratic Party develops new talent. Pundits are casting around for alternatives. The three most prominently mentioned are Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Gavin Newsom of California, and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois. Some add former First Lady Michelle Obama, but many are dismissive of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Arizona Rep. Grijalva told the New York Times that although he will support Biden if the president runs at the top of the ticket, he’d prefer him to step aside.

“If he’s the candidate, I’m going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere,” Grijalva told the newspaper. “What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat – and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race.”


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.