Leading 2020 Democrat presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden is declaring himself a “champion” for America’s union workers after tirelessly supporting free trade deals that made it easier for corporations to offshore union workers’ jobs.
On Labor Day, Biden released an ad in which he vowed that labor unions will have a seat at the table during all trade negotiations in his administration. Biden also said “unions will have no stronger champion in the White House” if he is elected.
Biden’s ad comes as union bosses, with deep ties to Democrat Party leaders, are worried that union workers will once again support President Trump in the 2020 presidential election, as he runs on his platform of economic nationalism and beating China in a trade war.
For Biden, being an advocate for the needs, jobs, and wages of America’s union workers has not been a cornerstone of his history in elected office. Biden’s support for job-killing free trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, have superseded his support for keeping American jobs in the United States.
While advocating for NAFTA in the Senate in 1993, Biden claimed NAFTA would bring more U.S. jobs to the Newark, Delaware Chrysler plant and increase domestic auto production.
More than a decade later, in 2007, those American workers who were promised a better livelihood by Biden and NAFTA were laid off from their jobs at the Chrysler plant. At its height, about 5,700 American workers were employed at Newark Chrysler. When the plant closed, around 700 to 1,100 Americans were left without jobs.
In May, Biden defended his support for NAFTA, saying “it made sense at the moment” for him to support the free trade deal which has contributed to the U.S. losing about five million manufacturing jobs and shuttering nearly 50,000 manufacturing facilities.
Then, just a few months later, during a 2020 Democrat presidential primary debate, Biden said he would oppose a “new NAFTA” deal when badgered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) over his past support for NAFTA.
Throughout the later years of the Obama administration, Biden worked to lobby Republicans and Democrats in Congress to pass TPP — a free trade deal that would have made it easier for multinational corporations to offshore union workers’ jobs to Malaysia and Vietnam, where workers earn less than 60 cents an hour in some cases.
In 2013, during a speech at the Export-Import Bank’s 2013 Annual Conference, Biden said TPP was necessary to create a “new world order” which includes more open markets to ensure that even foreign countries like China prosper.
Similarly, in order to open markets globally, Biden said tariffs must be eliminated across the board:
That’s why we have an ambitious agenda, not only to eliminate tariffs but also to tackle costly so-called ‘behind-the-border barriers’ to the flow of goods and services. [Emphasis added]
In June, Biden said he would “renegotiate” TPP to make sure the U.S. enters the free trade deal.
Union bosses, as Breitbart News reported, are hoping America’s union workers forget Biden’s record of supporting free trade deals like NAFTA and TPP.
American union workers, though, are still experiencing the results of free trade through outsourcing, offshoring, and record low union membership. Federal data suggests that the rate at which American workers are members of unions has been cut in half since 1983. Then, there were 17.7 million workers in unions. Today, there are less than 15 million union workers.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.