Citing infrastructure spending and jobs, Philly construction union endorses Biden

Groundbreaking begins on projects under the bipartisan infrastructure bill, earning President Biden key labor support from a prominent local construction union.

District leaders with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council

District leaders with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council announce their endorsement of President Biden at their headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia on Wednesday. (Carmen Russell-Sluchansky)

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Union leaders from the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council announced their endorsement of  Joe Biden for president at an event at their headquarters. The endorsement comes on the heels of a major national union endorsement, the North America’s Building Trades Unions.

Leaders and members pointed to the Investing in America plan as the catalyst for the endorsement.

“A lot of my members have been out working on the infrastructure bill,” said Francis McLaughlin Business Manager for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 21 (IUPAT). District 21 represents over 6,000 members in Northeastern and central Pennsylvania, as well as in New Jersey and Delaware, including drywall finishers and painters. “I can’t tell you how good it is to have leaders that stick to what they say and they take care of our members, not corporations.”

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Biden’s Investing American Plan — which includes funding for state projects through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — is contributing billions of dollars for various initiatives in Pennsylvania, including the replacement and repair of bridges, clean energy projects, clean water projects, a “hydrogen hub,” and mass transit revitalization.

Considered a signature accomplishment during Biden’s first term, the infrastructure bill received support from a sufficient number of opposition party members to pass the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Wayne Miller, president of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, told WHYY that the Investing in American plan has been so instrumental in creating union jobs that Donald Trump would have won reelection if he had passed similar legislation during his administration.

But “he wanted to build a wall instead of doing infrastructure,” Miller said, comparing Biden’s Investing in America to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

“Roosevelt did a great job, but Joe Biden is out with us,” he added. “He’s on the line with us.”

Those who took the stage made light of the complaints about Biden’s age, adding the word “pause” randomly between statements. Miller called Biden “a regular guy” and added that he would rather have a president Biden’s age than someone who only thinks about themselves.

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“He’s a man of his word,” Miller said. “He does what he says and he don’t lie to you. He tells you straight up. And that’s what we appreciate.”

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