Biden Push for Labor Support Is Burdened by Obama-Era Baggage

Supporters of the former vice president say he can win back union members who rejected Hillary Clinton. But he must overcome some hard feelings first.

Comments: 125

  1. The only labor candidate, who will stand unwavering on the side of unions whether it’s politically expedient or not, is Senator Bernie Sanders. The rest are just paying lip service for your vote in 2020 before they turn around and sell you down the river.

  2. @CWS I agree that what Sanders says may be the best for unions. But if he can't win in a general election, it doesn't mean anything. I love Bernie - always have. But he simply can't win a general election. To equate this to football - right now the other team has the ball and is driving. Sanders may have a great idea for a play but ultimately our team needs the ball back first. Joe Biden, while maybe not reaching this fictitious version of "perfect" people seem to be looking for - will at least get us the ball back. Once we have the ball back, our whole playbook is available for us.

  3. @Scott S. When does the "play it safe" "prevent defense" ever work?! Biden's nice guy act will get us scored upon constantly/incessantly. Americans don't want an Appeaser in Chief. They want someone that will fight for them and progressive ideals and policy's.. A pres. that will stand up to Republican malfeasance. Not make nice with them. Get the ball back? Biden will take a knee with 3 min. left on the clock so the other team can try again. There's a reason Top Dem. leadership asked Obama to keep Biden out of congressional negotiations. He sucked and kept tying to give away the store.

  4. @Dobbys sock yes we all want someone that will fight for them. But if the democrats misplay their hand again - what difference will it make? Joe's right about one thing for sure - 4 years of Trump we can come back from. 8 years of Trump will destroy the United States as we know it.

  5. In the view of the Times, has Joe Biden done anything right during his years of honest public service? Having dealt with organized labor for more than 40 years, Biden has always been considered a strong supporter of unions and working people generally, and, at any rate, the labor leaders I’ve known are quite aware of electoral political reality. They know Biden’s the only reasonable hope of beating Trump in 2020. Why do portray labor as so shortsighted? Thank you for considering my views.

  6. They don't see how they will benefit, if (and that is big if) will win the WH. They didn't like what he supported then, they don't trust him now.

  7. @yulia So, yulia, you are saying union members prefer Trump (who hates unions) to Biden? Seriously?

  8. @MarcosDean Apparently, they do, that what is the article about. The member Unions are split between Trump and Sanders.

  9. Th Corporate Media tells me every day Joe is the guy, but here is a union guy saying his members support Trump or Bernie? I’m so confused.

  10. @Rick It will be a replay of the last election, a surprising amount of support for Bernie that will be diverted to Trump when Biden is given the nomination.

  11. The Dems can’t win without progressives. So why do they continue to drive progressives and young people out of the party? Do they worship Big Insurance and Big Pharma and Big Banks so much?

  12. @Zejee Because Dems can’t win without moderates who live in swing states where progressives are few and far between.

  13. Bernie will be able to hit Trump harder on trade than Biden could. That’s a big reason he is a better bet than Biden.

  14. It is an indisputable fact that both major parties have failed organized labor for at least the past 40 years. There is only one candidate who will truly fight for the interests American labor and unions and that is Bernie Sanders.

  15. Ben, As a disaffected Republican, I’d vote for any candidate over Trump (even Warren, although it would probably give me acid reflux), except for Bernie Sanders. You can’t impugn his sincerity on most issues, but his career as an elected official has been marginal at best, he has never been a leader in the Senate or the House, he’s almost 80 and has just had a heart attack. If you want to consider legislative records when you think of Biden, consider that Sanders until recently, voted against most of the gun control bills that were proposed throughout his legislative career. Moderates, not the fringes, are going to swing the election, as should be the case. Try not to make it easy for people to send Trump back to the White House. Biden, Klobuchar, Bloomberg — Mayor Pete in 4-8 years. Everyone else should go away.

  16. I disagree. Moderates are what gave us Trump in the first place. What do corporate Dems have against Medicare for All (less expensive than for profit health care) and free community college or vocational education which would give all young people a start in life? Why is the establishment so against programs that would help American families? Why?

  17. @Ben Frankly, I'm tired of hearing the concerns of "disaffected Republicans". It's you lot who are largely responsible for the mess we are currently in. Sanders outperforms all the other candidates among Independents. He is the only candidate that can enthuse traditional non-voters to actually vote (in 2016 approximately 100 million eligible Americans did not vote). And if you really can't see why Sanders is better than Trump, then maybe you're part of the problem (much like your Republican Party as a whole).

  18. I don't see how anyone who lacked the basic moral fortitude to oppose the Iraq War, participated in green-lighting Wall Street fraud, and who failed to hold members of the Bush administration accountable for war crimes against the people of the United States and the Middle East should ever be in public office.

  19. @Dave, then who is your candidate? I don't remember Senator Sanders holding the Bush Administration accountable for war crimes? or stopping Wall Street.

  20. @DoctorRPP So the Democratic Party and its highest ranking members are not at fault for looking the other way on war crimes and Wall Street corruption, but Sanders is at fault for not doing enough as a lone senator? You might want to rethink your argument chief: it's not a very good one.

  21. I think the stronger argument is that there is not a country in the world (and I lived for a decade in several Scandinavian countries) that would allow someone who is not a party member to become that party's candidate for the elected head of government. As much as the cult of Sanders wants to make the Democratic party leadership out as villains, the rest of the democratic world would have pushed Sanders out the door a long time ago. There are many fine senior citizen care facilities in this country and we don't need to turn the White House in to a home for someone suffering their second stroke after the age of 80.

  22. Labor should have an independent voice from the two corrupt parties of Big Business, the Democratic Party and (the worst of the two) the Republican Party. It is time for a labour party which will take care of the interest of the working class people first.

  23. There really is no equivalency for Joe Biden. He can't treat Corporations, with their financial resources, as fair and equal negotiating partners with Unions. Voting for NAFTA, shepherding through corporate bailouts to the detriment of people whose home loans were under water due to unfair loan practices and not fighting harder to prevent the "Cadillac" Tax from being imposed on healthcare plans. Those are all non starters in backing a nominee for president. Track records are like a good scout following a trail. Easy to pick up and hard to dismiss. Bernie would never allow anything like that to happen.

  24. Biden's best hope is that unions will just forget what Obama did. Yet his best hope is also that they'll accept him because they remember what Obama did. He needs some very selective memory. That is easy for a partisan who already knows what he wants and only needs to make excuses for it. It is not so easy for someone who was angry then, and is still angry. So what does Biden offer unions? Will he do what Obama did not do? No, of course not. He's a corporate Democrat, totally against labor unions and their members any time there is a choice to be made.

  25. Someone going to remind the UAW that Democrats did not have the votes for the labor reforms they're discussing. The Democrats had a 'sort-of ' super-majority for @ four months (really only 24 working days), September 24, 2009, until February 4, 2010... and it was a majority ONLY if Blue Dog Democrats (the Joe Manchins of the party) and 2 independents voted with them as a block.

  26. It is simply bizarre that many union members, at least the ones portrayed in this article, seem to feel that Joe Biden is their foe and Donald Trump is their friend. Trump has done everything in his power, from his days owning casinos to his time in office, to disempower unions. Biden has been the opposite. There is a serious cognitive disconnect among these union workers, which the reporter never delves into.

  27. @MarcosDean Trump has been their friend by creating jobs and a wave in US manufacturing. Biden on the other hand is the old retreaded tire rolling around the Beltway for decades now shouting this or that and doing nothing but enriching himself and family members all while union families have suffered. The proof of is in action, not words, not the number of years in office, nor whom VP he was. Jospeh Biden Jr has been proactive for himself and himself alone.

  28. @Nature Sorry, that's simply not true. Obama / Biden created far more union jobs than Trump has. In fact, under Trump the manufacturing index has been in contraction for three consecutive quarters. And do you really think Trump HASN'T been "proactive for himself and himself alone" ?? Seriously, Nature?

  29. So Senator MasterCard is a friend of the working class. Lol

  30. Joe Biden is a proven corporate tool. Exhibit A is his lead sponsorship of a major “credit card reform” bill that made it much harder for individuals to write off credit card debt in bankruptcy. That one bill has shifted BILLIONS of dollars from poor American citizens to corporate coffers. If labor votes for Biden, they deserve to continue their spiral into political irrelevancy.

  31. If Bernie wins the nomination, he will lose the liberal, moderate, never-Trumper coalition that won back the House in 2018. But, it appears that the Bernie-bros are, again, threatening to throw a tantrum and take all their toys home if another candidate prevails. Because, as in 2016, they seem more interested in “punishing” their less pure Democrats then defeating Trump, McConnell and the far-right GOP. I’m beginning to think that these fanatical progressive purists and Bernie bros deserve Donald Trump and his far right coalition. I thought that four years of Trump would have been enough to learn the consequences of their pointless, my way or the highway Jill Stein votes. But maybe it will take them losing abortion rights, spiraling into medical debt and bankruptcy, losing protections for pre-existing conditions, a deeply degraded environment and lose of other basic civil liberties before they come to their senses.

  32. @Swing State Voter Arguably the take all the toys home crowd is in the HRC, Biden, and good ol' stalwart DNC faction of the party. Do not be afraid of the youth, the change, and the wave of support for Bernie.

  33. @Swing State Voter So these union workers are Bernie Bros? The most common occupation among Sanders' donors are teachers, followed by nurses. Bernie Bros? The top employers of his donors are WalMart, Amazon, Target, the USPS, Starbucks... So, you lump all of these people together and call them Bernie Bros? How do you explain that?

  34. American families are struggling to afford expensive for profit health care and high interest student debt. Bernie understands this. Establishment Dems cater to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. Obviously.

  35. But Biden is the most likely to keep the House and take the Senate. Once we have all three branches of gov. then he won't have to cow tow to the right or Wall Street. If Bernie or Warren get the nomination and not the Senate, we have even more polarization and they won't get anything done.

  36. Joe Biden, if only he were the man he thinks he is. I'll vote for him, I sort of support him for the nomination because he looks to have the best chance to defeat Trump but the democrats abandoned labor with Bill Clinton and now paying the price. Union members who support Trump need to really rethink that. He is not for them.

  37. Look for the Union Label. Unions are an essential part of the mirror of Democracy. They serve the working people above the Money people who would grind them into dust. Every Democratic Candidate should be acceptable to the Unions; they have their faults, as do all Institutions, but they do stand on tne side of the working man in this world that is fast seeking ways to eliminate him from the calculus.

  38. This article is not very useful. Okay, so various union leaders express opinions this way or that way. Is there a pattern? Is there any statistical data on this issue? How are union members in key states most likely to vote?

  39. Let these voters look at the Medicaid block grants coming from Trump. See if they make the same mistake twice.

  40. Given Mr. Mr. Biden's track record of voting to ship American jobs overseas. His support of so called Free Trade agreements and tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas. If the choice was between Joe Biden & Bozo the Clown? Bozo wins in a landslide. Pro labor yeah right.

  41. He told a group of wealthy people nothing would change. Joe Biden to rich donors: "Nothing would fundamentally change" if he's elected |

  42. I love union members that vote for Trump. Hate your $30/hr job now? Let me know how much you like it after Trump and his minions have their way and you are doing the same job for $16/hour.

  43. @Scott S. This is quite true, yet it is important to not blame union members who were promised "the stars" by Trump. There is no support for the union worker even more now, with Trump, and he made it apparent he does not care about farmers. Wages have already halved for workers who used to make almost $30 a hour. Meanwhile, the rich get richer....

  44. @K.M Exactly. But it's also kind of hard to feel sorry for someone that voluntarily walks right up to the 3 card monte table on the street and loses their money.

  45. @Ed Watters ++ You should at least try to get your facts straight. The Bankruptcy Bill was a Republican creation which was vetoed by Bill Clinton at least twice and only resurfaced when the Republicans increased their majorities in the Senate and House after the 2004 elections. The Bill pass by large margins, 302-126 in the House and 74-25 in the Senate, and was signed into law by GWB. Clearly, Biden's vote had little if anything to do with the passage of this horrible law.

  46. Joe Biden is so ridden with skeletons and years of bad decisions not to mention his gaffes and just plain bizarre behavior ( biting his wife's fingers during campaigning, calling Corey Booker, Mr President, you fill in the blanks+) that he is just a safety candidate at this point to take on Trump. Adding the bad decisions such as allowing his son to work for a foreign entity this gives the GOP more than enough ammunition to sink him. We have been sold a lemon. He will not perform as advertised in taking down Trump. Dems are in denial over this because we are desperate to beat Trump. The sole person who can assure a solid victory over Trump is Mike Bloomberg. He is the best thing to happen to this party in years. He is now second, after Biden, in Florida, which we must win. Bernie cannot persuade Cubans and Venezuelans there to support a Socialist nor can he win a general election. Biden's sole selling point is that he is best poised to beat Trump. This is just so much malarkey, to use his favorite term. Mike has and will get it done.

  47. @Simon Sez Seriously ? Bloomberg? He is definitely against unions and, in my opinion, his attempts to make the schools "work like a business" were a complete disaster. Neither of heads of the Department of Education left a short time after he installed them. The problem was and is that schools are not factories. Children and students cannot be forced into round holes. The problem with most billionaires, including Bill Gates, is that because they were able to earn a vast amount of money they think they can run the government, including education, like a business. But the government is a completely different animal. Bloomberg and many other billionaires seem to be unable to grasp the fact that government cannot be run like a business.

  48. @Simon Sez Biden's son is a grown person who does not need parental approval to seek any job he wants. Perhaps the decision was not well thought out, but did he know in 2014 his father would be seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020 when he opted to sit on the sideline in 2016? And Bloomberg!! We have the example of one ego dominated billionaire now in the White House. While I have no reason to believe Bloomberg would be another Trump, he has no chance of becoming President. His money would be better used to defeat some Republican Senators and Trump.

  49. @Simon Sez Uncle Joe Biden helped foist Clarence Thomas on all of us. That alone was unforgivable.

  50. article on those distrusting Buttigieg? Apparently, the Times agrees with Trump that it is Biden that needs to be in the cross hairs. There is nobody over 75 years old that will revolutionize American health or labor policies. Unfortunately, it also is clear that nobody under 75 has a shot at the presidency this year. Therefore, I am all in on Biden to be elected as a one term president to undue the damage of Trump and prepare the way for a strong Democratic candidate in 2024. A year in which actuary tables suggest that only 2 of the 4 octogenarians that year (Trump, Biden, Warren, and Sanders) will even be alive.

  51. @DoctorRPP Ageism much?

  52. @DoctorRPP I'd be more inclined to point fingers at our congress than an over 75yr. old candidate/President. But ONE top tier candidate has been standing up for the American Worker for decades. Walking the picket lines, speaking out in the boardrooms of major corp. and introducing punitive legislation against Profit Über Alles. When congress didn't/wouldn't do anything he went out into the streets and activated his million wo/man Revolution to help the Fight for $15 win a doubling of their wages against the largest Corp. employers in America. But sure...the guy pushing Workers Rights and Universal Health Care wouldn't revolutionize labor policies; not for the lack of trying. Maybe we need to elect a better House and Senate ya think?!

  53. The Democratic Party and politicians like Biden abandoned Labor and the working class decades ago. Working class Americans will turn out in large numbers to support Senator Sanders if he is the nominee. Not so much for Biden and... Biden will lose to Trump.

  54. One Political Party has not done enough for organized labor and is in jeopardy of losing labor's votes as a result. The other Party has actively worked to eliminate Unions, has reversed Obama overtime rules as being too costly for corporations, has worked to reduce or eliminate unemployment benefits, has sided with corporations vs. workers for generations, and stands to gain the labor votes lost by the other Party? Good thinking there.......

  55. No political party has done well by the unions. As the technological revolution took over, jobs primarily went the way of automation or off shore. Right now technology runs much of the world, but our training and educational programs have not kept up. There needs to be more training for workers dis-placed by technology, and more investment in middle America. Companies that lay off their workers due to technology replacement, have a moral duty, in my opinion, to contribute train those workers in another field. Currently we have many Chinese entrepreneurs who take over abandoned factories in middle America, and pay workers half of what they were being paid with fewer benefits. We must re-purpose those factories for applied technological jobs that will maintain the standard of living of these workers, and offer apprenticeships and on the job training. Our country has abandoned our workers, and Sanders and Warren are the answer.

  56. Uncle Joe has gotta go. Volunteer and then vote for Bernie Sanders. Unions have been sliding downhill for a long time, along with the middle class, thanks to the Corporate State, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama and now Trump.

  57. It is stunning that so many union members choose between Trump and Sanders, because they couldn't be more different. Sanders is friendly to unions, but Trump has a history of hatred of unions. I guess the unions like Trump because of his tough guy image, but he is actually inimical to unions.

  58. Then presidential-candidate Obama "stood" with the locked out Republic Windows & Doors union workers in Chicago in 2008. Even then, however, it was clear to those who knew his record that he spoke in prophetic, progressive terms and governed as a neoliberal.

  59. @Killoran BHO campaigned as a progressive and governed like a Republican.

  60. I like Biden but he is out of the mold of Hillary and Obama. No support for labor If labor is to regain strength it’s Bernie or continue to decline.

  61. For a union member to support Trump, they might as well commit suicide. Labor law is enforced by the NLRB, a board consisting of Presidential appointees. The President also appoints the NLRB General Counsel. Cases which come before the Board can make or break the backbone of organized labor. Checkout the decisions of the Reagan NLRB for examples. There is a reason workers have been on the backburner for the past thirty years, and it is called politics. Too little effort by Democrats to protect workers rights and too much ambition of the part of Republicans to erode those rights. Republicans have been winning. Anyone working in a unionized arena and voting Republican is on a fool's errand, one which will come back to haunt them.

  62. Registered Democrats who really support Trump and vote in the Iowa caucuses are likely to vote for Bernie in the caucuses, and vote for Trump in November. The nomination of Bernie for the Democrats is the Trump plan for Trump's reelection. Bernie supporters should know that Bernie helps Trump.

  63. @David Huh. So any primary candidate that runs against your chosen pol. is a stalking horse. Got it. Kinda like Hillary and her push to get Trump as the Republican candidate; as exposed in the WikiLeaks.

  64. I have lots of Union neighbors that were anti Hillary. You’ll never get them to admit it in a poll but identity politics were a huge reason. Normally my stoop would be plastered with pamphlets on Election Day - in 2016 the Union guys threw them in the trash. That said, Democrats have been absolutely terrible at articulating their role in protecting Union rights and actual steps Republicans have done to weaken unions. Your Republican president’s Supreme Court cripples Union political clout with Janus vs. AFSCME. Republican appointees have pushed “right to work” in every instance they could. 25% steel tariffs didn’t help anyone involved in manufacturing. Maybe GM doesn’t fire 15,000 workers if they didn’t have to eat $1 Billion in taxes. Hurting your trading partners’ buying power limits the number of units you can sell them. It may be uphill battle because at its essence the Democratic Party is put in a position that doesn’t get to say what they WILL do but rather is stuck saying they will protect the rights that Unions currently enjoy.

  65. @William You could no be more wrong. It was Clinton signing NAFA that destroyed unions. As soon as it was signed uncle lost his union job - GM closed the Fisher plant and moved to Mexico. Then my father lost his job job at Carrier when it too moved production to Mexico. My uncle never found an other job. My dad wound up keeping up a parking lot - at minimum wage Did Obama anything to fix it ? NO

  66. @Lisa No job is forever. NAFTA did hurt some but helped others. being selfish for your own job is to be expected, but let's call it what it is -- being selfish. As a Black man from New York, believe me, unions were not much of an answer for me or mine. Sorry for your family's job situation, but big picture, the USMCA is only a rewrite of NAFTA.

  67. Obama was dependent on Wall Street money- he needed its money to run. " Look, with even a few mild words of reproof, Obama has lost a huge funding source from Wall Street." Paul Krugman 2012 So not a single banker was sent to jail . And Obama did nothing outsourcing - a gosh, it made money for Wall Street. He overlooked that it was and is single most important factor killing industrial unions. "Well if you do not want to work for what we offer, we will move the factory to China (or Mexico)" Go read Becoming Steel Worker liberated her than her job moved to Mexico Trump for all his faults DID something for workers. He slapped tariffs on China to level the playing field and he did negotiate a new NAFTA that is better for Union workers Read Vox: Trump’s new trade deal is better for workers than NAFTA was The Democrats had 8 years to do this. They did nothing As to Biden, he too depends on Wall Street on Wall Street money . He will act just like Obama did

  68. @LArs Obama was not out of office for two weeks before he was off on a "billionaire tour", shamelessly snapping selfies with a succession of plutocrats at their estates. It was disgusting, but at least removed any lingering doubt about where his sympathies lay. Never mentioned in his kid glove treatment of Wall Street, was his worry, from the outset, about who would pay for his library if he ruffled their feathers. The fact that he's building it in an impoverished area of Chicago means nothing. After the construction workers have gone on to their next gig, boondoggles like these never bring in the jobs as promised. Under Bloomberg, once the new Yankee Stadium was finished - at taxpayer expense - 22 full time jobs were created. Google it!

  69. @LArs Obama also allowed Citigroup to recommend individuals for his entire cabinet and he followed its recommendations without exception. This was well-documented by the media but relatively unknown by the public.

  70. To get elected Democrats have to be perfect, republicans can be racist.

  71. @John No, not perfect. But at least more Dem than Repub.

  72. One of the most important accomplishments of Bernie Sanders' two campaigns has been his insistence on the centrality of class in American life, a centrality always denied by American elites, including the institutional Democratic Party. That denial allowed racist demagogues like Reagan and Trump (yes, Reagan) to appeal to a part of the working class on the basis of "patriotism" and ethnically-based nationalism. It is no surprise at all to me that Biden is distrusted--not just, not even primarily, because of the failings of the Obama administration on labor and trade, but because he is (correctly) seen as fundamentally a defender of the status quo.

  73. @George This. Yes. Class.

  74. Biden is probably not the only candidate that was a keener on NAFTA, which dealt a serious blow to labour in both the US and Canada. Both our countries once actually made things which helped support the middle and working classes. No more. Ross Perot was right. That giant 'sucking sound' truly was the number of good jobs that went to Mexico to take advantage of and exploit cheap Mexican labour. All at the expence of American and Canadian labour. No wonder American labour has concerns about Biden. As for Biden, let us not forget that this 'Republican Lite' candidate threw Anita Hill under the bus, and gifted America with Clarence Thomas on the SCOTUS. A seemingly nasty, bitter, mean-spirited gift that, sadly, keeps on giving. Clarence Thomas will die in that robe one day, and Biden owns a good slice of that appointment on the Court. On that issue alone, Biden is not fit to become the Democratic nominee.

  75. @On a Small Island Thank you. Spot on.

  76. @On a Small Island Not to highjack you salient Biden comment; but to highlight the other top tier candidate who's been fighting for Union/workers rights his whole career. Back in '93 Bernie knew: After NAFTA in '95: Bernie, Unions and Trickle Down Tax Breaks '95: an 80min. debate... Half hour C-Span interview Bern on Labor Unions '07:

  77. We need a new political party that is actually interested in the working people and economy of this country and will leave the culture wars to the Democrats and Republicans.

  78. In spite of how much that Joe Biden may insist otherwise, the Vice President’s role in any given administration is not that impactful on the overall direction of said administration. For anyone who might doubt this, I would kindly point you to Mike Pence. Barack Obama is a president whose legacy certainly warrants some criticisms, and many of those critiques are intertwined with the economic crisis of 2008, the effects of which we are still in the midst of. Nevertheless, the absurdity that is our system of unrestrained capitalism can’t continue to be engorged, unless our elected officials actually want to see violence in the streets nationwide. The conditions under which any society is vulnerable to violent revolution are known quantities among sociologists, and we’ve already checked a couple of boxes.

  79. @ubique Obama inherited the 2008 crisis from the tax gifts to corporations by Reagan and continued by Bush. He dug us out of that hole by continuing Clinton's jobs policies. He was stopped by a GOP Congress which refused to fund infrastructure where new jobs could be created. Congress sent funding to States which used the money to pay down debt, not to create jobs. He managed to get the ACA passed, admitting that it needed continued work. Obama did the best he could; he was a decent honest President with no scandals; he did not profit from his Presidency. Michelle improved school lunch nutrition standards. He was a well spoken gentleman who did not rely on crude language or insults when he spoke. He was not a world wide joke. He was physically active. His family provided a role model, not a source for mockery. Millions of miss him; we cringe with each appearance of the obese, lousy golfer who uses AF One as a taxi to his private resort in FL. Obama played at Camp David often. There is no comparison between Obama and Trump which gives Trump an edge.

  80. I'm an attorney for unions in Illinois. In the Illinois primary in 2016, almost all the union reps and members I knew told me they were voting for Sanders even if their Internationals had endorsed Clinton. Sanders continues to have strong support here. By the way, this is 2020 - a typical union member is likely to be a female teacher, nurse or flight attendant or an African American or Latino public employee or building services worker.

  81. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were both well to the partisan political right of FDR, LBJ, Ike and Nixon when it came to most labor matters.

  82. Last night we watched the Netflix movie, American Factory. A documentary of the Chinese setting up a glass windshield plant in Dayton, OH after it was a GM plant closed down. The Chinese are hugely against unions, of course. Their workers slave 12 hours a day without overtime, and these workers have a hive mind, almost like a cult going back to when they were four years old.. Singing and standing at attention like the military. Separated from their families back in China for two years without a raise. Americans working there were making $12.60 an hour, after making $29.00 an hour at GM. So, the American workers tried to start a union. Easily crushed, because these companies will fly in union-busting lawyers and spend millions to make sure it never happens. America has labor laws, unlike China, but ours have been greatly weakened since Reagan was elected. Only Bernie or Liz Warren would try to change that. They should shake hands and run together, ASAP.

  83. @Mike C. This, I think, is an often glossed over aspect in the debate over the utility of unions in America--particularly in American manufacturing. It's no longer just a struggle between American workers and their employers for a fair distribution of a company's profits or additional fringe benefits. We're part of a global economy now, competing against businesses and workers who have different values and aspirations as this movie clearly shows. How effective can a local union be in an increasingly global labor market? One in which workers like those shown in in the film will labor without objection for piecemeal wages? I suppose that until people are willing to pay more for goods and services, such that companies will make a sufficient profit so as to tolerate the cost of a unionized workforce, prospects will remain bleak.

  84. This is absolutely correct. Obama did nothing for organized labor while he had the chance. I like the guy and who knew that the Rs would win Ted Kennedy's seat, but it was crazy to think that he would have a Senate Supermajority indefinitely and Obama should have moved on this issue for labor right away. Bernie, for whatever other faults he may have, has been union guy forever and a day.

  85. The Obama Administration treated unions like all neoliberal Democrats treat unions. They buddy up to them during the election and then ignore them until the next election. While in office, they have acquiesced in and enabled the refusal to enforce labor laws against employers. President Obama left those sturdy walking shoes in the back of the closet where they gathered dust for 8 years. When Wisconsin union members were protesting and mutinying over Scott Walker’s sneak attack, neither Obama nor Biden visited the state or made any statements in favor of the unions. They ignored union support for card check and other legislation. They also enthusiastically supported corporate “free trade,” which inevitably destroys American jobs and puts extreme downward pressure on wages. VP Biden must take the good with the bad when he seeks electoral advantage through his association with his friend, Barack. I fear that Mr. Biden may talk the talk, but that he will not ever walk the walk (or the picket line) for unions. There’s no question where Bernie Sanders stands. He’s been walking picket lines and jawboning employers to raise wages even while campaigning for the Presidency.

  86. The main point was made by Nicole McCormick-- "Mr. Biden (and not only him) wasn’t “willing to push for the things that we as Americans look at as radical, but the rest of the world looks at and is like--- , ‘We did that 50 years ago." Expanded access to unions, universal health care and paid parental leave as examples. What's termed radical here is centrist in modern countries, which are also capitalist systems. Where are the articles and columns on this? The US media reinforces this warped definition of 'radical', by not discussing international comparisons of what other modern countries achieved in the 20th C-- Health care as a right , not a profit center-- in dozens of nations. Respect for employee unions, with much higher membership. National benefits for parental leave--- benefits showing basic respect for citizens. These norms show respect by govt for the citizens who elect it. The US shows respect for private profit, equating this with American 'Freedom'. We leave many essential rights up to states. Too bad if in wrong state. And to corporations financing our election campaigns, thus setting the norms of what's 'left/right/center' in our politics. OUr media's restricted coverage reinforces our backward policies. Our media gets big profits from campaign ads, paid for by corporate donors who set policy for profits. Why else are we the only capitalist democracy still without universal affordable health care ---generations behind the rest of the modern world?

  87. @Meredith The media also assiduously promotes distorted definitions of "centrists" and "moderates," trying to disguise the fact that the so-called centrists and moderates to whom it applies these terms are Republicans who have been taking over the Democratic Party since the Clinton years -- a classic Trojan Horse. And then they complain that Sanders isn't a "real" Democrat.

  88. What Trump and Sanders have in common is a willingness to indulge labor fantasy fulfillment. Trump is a liar and Sanders is a dreamer. Neither have nor will advance labor in the US.

  89. @Old blue Yeah, the 30yrs of Sanders speaking out and voting against our horrible trade deals harming workers is just a meh. His efforts helping over 1 million American workers win a doubling of their wages in the Fight for $15 is just meh... The passage of the Amendment that stopped Wall Street Banks from hiring foreign workers to replace laid off American...meh. His efforts to move our HC away from employment to universal...meh. Sanders' efforts to save the pensions of some 130,000 IBM workers and retirees. IBM agreed to a $320 million legal settlement...meh. His hundreds of speech's, his walking the picket lines, his punitive legislation against corp...yeah, what has Bernie ever done to advance labour in the US?! Geez...really?!

  90. You all need to start getting on the Biden band wagon or else Bernie is gonna win. Which means you all will be having a Trump for president in 2020.

  91. @Kevin - Been there, done that, hated it. Never in my life have I felt more deceived by any two politicians than Barack/Biden. I'm still waiting for Gitmo to close and the war in Afghanistan to end. Hillary was "under investigation" when she ran and she was defeated. Now, there are quite a few calls into the Bidens and what they did or did not do in Ukraine. Why not just put up a candidate who does not bring so much baggage to the campaign trail and who spends most of their time apologizing for what they did in the past? And who on earth wants a candidate who says he wants to work with the Republicans? How did that work for him last time? Its the same players and they will walk all over him just like before. It would help if he at least knew if he were in Vermont or New Hampshire. Sanders/Warren/Yang/Klobuchar don't come with this baggage. Their nepotism hasn't put us where we are today.

  92. @Kevin Biden's "band wagon" is actually a 1989 Oldsmobile with bald tires, worn out brakes, a leaky radiator, and a bad transmission. Would you buy or even take a ride in something like that? Nah, me neither.

  93. Credit Card Joe, a Union man ? Throughout his pathetic campaign he has repeatedly lied about his position on Social Security, Medicare and the invasion of Iraq. Little wonder the public aren't moved by his limpid electoral efforts.

  94. I voted twice for Obama. I now regret it. It is not just that he did nothing for workers during his presidency His past presidency life style is a reputation of all he claimed for as President. The more residences, the greater is your carbon footprint. The more you fly around the greater is your carbon footprint Instead of limiting his impact on the globe, he hangs hang out with the ultra rich on their private islands and yachts flying around . 'Flyskam' is a word he does not know His $ 12 million mansion on Martha Vineyard keeps ordinary American off the beach. If he were serious about the environment he would live like Carter .

  95. I talk to Union bosses "Cuomo will listen to us, just before an election, the rest of the time he fights us" President of Public Union, Syracuse NY Andrew Cuoma is the Democratic Governor of NYS and periodically rumored to run for President

  96. The reason national and international Unions aren't endorsing a single candidate this election is because they played politics last primary. The Union heads received huge amounts of flack and accusations of selling out the Union members by endorsing Clinton. The rank and file overwhelmingly wanted to back Bernie. They STILL do. The mensch has been walking and speeching with Unions for decades. Walking the picket lines, fighting in the boardrooms and using his media/congressional bully pulpit to address workers concerns and needs. This NYT article is salient in that Bernie just picked up the 200,000 Postal Union endorsement today. Which goes along with his receiving two weeks ago New Hampsters SEA/SEIU Local 1984's endorsement. The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America endorse Bernie early. Along with National Nurses United who have been campaigning with/for him. While some national and regional Unions are waiting to endorse others have joined Sanders: APWU - American Postal Workers Union NNU – National Nurses United NUHW – National Union of Healthcare Workers UE – United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America The list of Local/State Unions, see here:

  97. @Dobbys sock Labor's best advocate is Sanders. It's time he was rewarded with the votes of union members. Establishment Democrats have been taking for granted, playing, and selling out labor for decades. I remember when the Obama Administration, as reported in the WaPo, chastised the DNC for contemplating support for striking public employees in Wisconsin when Governor Scott Walker tried to decimate the unions with a lot of support outside the state.

  98. @N Yep. '07 on the campaign trail Pres. O. said, "Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I'll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone's standing in their corner." He was called out repeatedly for help from Unions and workers; especially WI. Guess he didn't have comfortable shoes. We know Bernie does.

  99. This article, by an independent reporter, is a welcome antidote to other articles by NYT reporters who regularly pitch the "Centrist Democrats freak out at the prospect of nominating radicals Sanders/Warren against Trump" story. The point Noam Scheiber makes that the Obama Administration "sometimes treated labor as an interest group to be managed rather than a partner in making policy" is particularly apt. Like the Obama/HRC team, the Obama/Biden team carries a heavy load trying to motivate disappointed labor voters.

  100. @jcb ....And Hunter Biden's $50,000 per month retainer as a nepotist/figurehead for Burisma compares rather unfavorably with the new wages of former union members put out of work by automation and foreign competition.

  101. @jcb How do those wages compare with those of Uday and Kusay Trump running daddy's bribe factory/money laundering....I mean... hotel and golf course business?

  102. @jcb One of these days all you guys who chirp this $50,000 figure out over and over again will provide a legitimate source for that number other than Nutcase Hannity who showed the world the other night how unstable his mental health really is. How much money are Trump's kids grifting from U.S. taxpayers since Trump was elected? If you want to cry about something then focus on that great train robbery.

  103. I don't understand how a union worker could support Trump, who did all he could to hurt unions while running businesses into the ground in NY and NJ. Trump promises and can't deliver because his GOP party doesn't care about workers first, only after they've given the full meal to corporations, and the scraps are left over for workers. Unions will do much better under a democrat president and a democrat congress than under a republican. Complaining that their healthcare plans were taxed? Well what about the people who didn't have healthcare? Are union folks so selfish and self interested? I guess so. my father, a lifelong teamster, would be ashamed of these folks today.

  104. I found this as a way over understatement of this story: "...As a senator, Mr. Biden supported some free-trade legislation, like the North American Free Trade Agreement..." That agreement is called NAFTA - the only agreement ever that specifically was for Free Trade originally championed by elder Bush. Even Ross Perot denounced NAFTA which was passed by Clinton. Mr Perot denounced with his famous "giant sucking sound" In our living memory - that is the only consequential free trade agreement - there are no other. And history has shown that it was indeed an American labor killer. So, the Unions holding it against Mr Biden as "some free trade.." It is the only one of any consequence. Over all, this nomination process is showing a rejection of Obama as a labor savior. And that will haunt Biden if he is the nominee against our POTUS who has delivered a resounding economy. It's "economy, stupid" is as much valid today as in Clinton run against elder Bush.

  105. @Neil Biden pushed for TPP. So did Clinton, until it started harming her campaigning. You're being disingenuous by pretending it wasn't an issue in 2016 and throughout the later Obama years. (But yes, the article could have been more clear accurate on this point.)

  106. I grew up in a UAW family in Michigan, and the idea that union members support Trump is a complete mystery to me. My father, who proudly wore a UAW membership pin, would be sickened by the Trump presidency if he were alive today. Had the Republicans been in the White House during the Great Recession, General Motors would no longer exist, and automobile manufacturing as we know it in this country, including tens of thousands of UAW jobs, would be gone forever. Trump has done nothing and will do nothing for the working man. He pays lip service to common man causes, but virtually all of his policies support business and those that are well off. Labor's rank and file need to wake up - they are being scammed by a con man in Trump.

  107. GM should have been dissolved in 2008. Obama violated bankruptcy law and decades of precedent to garner favor with a small band of extortionists (union officials and their members) and the core of his coastal elite supporters. Like SS, FDR stuck us with a century of the burdens of entitlement programs and the associated mentality.

  108. And after we paid to save their sorry company they shut down donestic factories and moved to Nexici and China.

  109. Any bets these people supported politicians who pushed “right to work” legislation? These people have been complicit in their own subjugation.

  110. No more. You are either with the workers of America or you aren't. No Nafta, no China in WTO, no guest workers, no amnesty.

  111. When labor went for Reagan because he was manly, they were done. The rest is trying not to get swept out the door all the while smack talking Obama like Rush Limbaugh. Thinking the job was goody good gravy and if we just act like republicans we won't get greased. Workin out for ya? That AR 15 is gonna be great clearing the woods of competition for the only squrrel left in Tennessee/Ohio/Iowa/Indiana. You got hornswoggled.

  112. @daniel lathwell Amen.

  113. Yes, many many forces have contributed to labor unions' troubles,but when will union leaders and the rank and file confess to their own willful stupidity,ignorance,and yes,bigotry? From Nixon,through Reagan, and now trump, unions have supported the very people who openly lobby for,and support weakening labor rights. In many areas,such as the buildings trades, unions mirror the gop membership of the Senate: white. Union leadership has not been its best own advocate either;they've been shortsighted, and myopic and selfserving,frankly. When this administration appoints people like Scalia's kid to the NLRB, barely a peep was heard. When union leaders gathered in the White House with this president, for the "hope" of paychecks,it was a deplorable picture,and horrible message. The promise of the "next job" doesn't put food on the table. When the President's party has been an adversary to labor for 60 years, openly advocating for,and passing laws to depress union membership, it is wrong to lend any support,tacitly or explicitly. And union labor is too selfserving: when is the last time members of one union supported another union? Yes,there was one instance last year,one! It is bad enough that business and many politicians aren't supportive of labor,but it is doesn't excuse labors own shortcomings for not being its own best advocate.

  114. Please Noam, burdened by Obama? How about all the great things that Trump has done for the labor and poor? People who think that Rome was built in day, don't have a concept of reality.

  115. The decline and fall of unionism is the Democrat's hallmark as is the disappearence of small family farms the Republican hallmark. Sanders is the obvious real friend of union membership in every sense.

  116. It is beyond ludicrous that so many union members are supporting Donald Trump as a candidate. Clearly, they have no understanding of Trump's history.

  117. Biden has been anti union in deed for decades! A few kind words supporting labor bellies the fact he is a died in the wool corporatist. Vote Biden, re-elect Trump. Biden is not our friend. Bernie has always cared about labor, and peace, and social justice.

  118. NYT will never support anyone other than a corporatist candidate. Biden's the king if corporatists.

  119. Any union leader or member who endorses and votes for the GOP is a traitor. United we bargain,divided we beg!

  120. While I recognize that primarily the Republican Electoral College and the Russians put Trump into power, everything in this country seems uncertain given how many fascists there are (by that I mean, of course, Republicans). How a union member could support a Republican, I don't know (other than their paramilitary/police unions). The presidential election seems like the last hope for civilization in the U.S. If Trump and Putin win, it seems like the remaining options are secession and/or armed revolution or civil war. I can't imagine that the majority population would sit still for more abuse at the hands of the Republican Party.

  121. Biden will lose to Trump. It'd be a layup for Trump. The only one who widens the base and at the same time excites it is Bernie. It's as simple as that.

  122. I campaigned hard for and voted for Hillary in 2016. I held a grudge against Bernie Sanders since then. All that said, it has become clear that Sanders is the strongest Democratic candidate. I have ping-ponged between candidates, and finally arrived at Sanders. As this story and many others show, his crossover appeal is far stronger than anyone else in the race, including my favored choice Elizabeth Warren. It still pains me a little but I am backing Bernie.

  123. While the firefighters' union supports Biden, the rank and file firefighters themselves do not.

  124. Fitting story; as of today (1/30/20) Bernie picks up two huge Union endorsements. The American Postal Workers’ Union (APWU), representing 200,000 workers, as well as UFCW Local 21, Washington state’s largest private sector union representing 46,000 service sector workers, have both endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. With a workforce comprised of 46.8% minorities, the Postal Service is one of the most diverse organizations in the country. Well done my Union Sisters and Brothers. Keep working towards the goal. Eyes on the prize. It's not over by a long shot. Now the real work starts. Stay focused. Stay strong. We got this. NotMeUs