The country’s top union bosses are hoping millions of American workers forget about former Vice President Joe Biden’s longtime support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal — which helped to eliminate nearly five million U.S. manufacturing jobs — in the 2020 presidential election.
From the start, Biden has attempted to position himself in the crowded 2020 Democrat presidential primary field as a fighter for American union workers. For his first rally in Pennsylvania, Biden picked up endorsements from the union bosses with the state’s United Steelworkers (USW) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
“I am a union man, period,” Biden told the crowd in Pennsylvania.
John Defazio, former director for USW of Pennsylvania, said in an interview with Payday Report that he believes America’s working and middle class will forget about Biden’s record of supporting free trade deals like NAFTA and his promotion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“It might have [hurt Biden] a little bit, but I think people forget about that,” Defazio told Payday’s Mike Elk.
NAFTA, which Biden continues to support, cost nearly five million American manufacturing workers their jobs and depressed wages for the country’s working and middle class by making it easier for multinational corporations to outsource U.S. jobs to Mexico’s low-wage economy.
In 2007, Biden defended his support for NAFTA, falsely claiming the free trade deal had created more jobs than those that were lost. In Delaware, alone, NAFTA helped to eliminate nearly 17,000 U.S. jobs in the state.
“Some jobs got lost. Some jobs got created. But, again, NAFTA wasn’t the problem,” Biden said at the time.
Al Hart, a former organizer for United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE), railed against Biden’s support for NAFTA in an interview with Payday Report:
Biden voted for NAFTA, which cost a half a million good-paying manufacturing jobs and also forced us to fight against wage cuts and it made it much harder to organize. I was negotiating contracts after NAFTA and every manufacturing company had a credible threat that if you don’t cave into what we want, we are going to Mexico. [Emphasis added]
During his speeches to union bosses this week, Biden demanded that hospitals “stop the union-busting.” Unmentioned, though, were Biden’s ties to union busters like attorney Steve Cozen.
In Biden’s first 2020 fundraiser, Cozen was just one of many wealthy donors who hosted the former Delaware senator. Cozen’s law firm, as Breitbart News’s Matt Boyle reported, specializes in helping corporations bust up labor unions.
Meanwhile, union bosses are concerned that their members will turn out to support President Trump in his re-election, as many supported him in 2016 against corporate donor-funded Hillary Clinton.
“A lot of people I work with are Trump supporters,” a steelworkers’ union member, Jon Vesco, told the Los Angeles Times, as Breitbart News’s Tony Lee reported. “They are tired of the same old, same old when it comes to Democrats. They need to get back to focusing on people and jobs, not bashing Trump.”
Since 1993, Trump has been a vocal opponent of NAFTA and multilateral free trade deals that make U.S. job outsourcing easier for corporate executives.
During his first two years in office, Trump has enacted steel and aluminum tariffs — as well as tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese products — to protect American workers and U.S. industry from unfair foreign competition. The tariffs have resulted in widespread growth across the American manufacturing sector and reopened U.S. steel mills that had previously idled due to decades worth of free trade policies.
Biden, as of 2007, has opposed tariffs on foreign imports to protect Americans’ jobs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.