The International Brotherhood of Teamsters endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020, but the organisation is currently talking with two of his major independent opponents.
Robbie Kennedy Jr., an independent and a long shot for president, and Cornel West, another long shot, were invited to meet with the union this week as part of their endorsement process.
His campaign informed HEADLINESFOREVER that following Thursday’s roundtable, West met for an hour in the Washington headquarters with General President Sean O’Brien, General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman, and rank-and-file members of the Teamsters. According to West’s statement, he met with “my wonderful comrades in the Teamsters Union” and had a “magnificent meeting.”
There were more invitees than just West and Kennedy. The Teamsters’ initial round of endorsement roundtable conversations also included Democratic primary competitor Marianne Williamson, GOP primary candidate Asa Hutchinson, and Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips.
The Teamsters have never before conducted roundtable interviews with independents and party candidates alike.
During the UAW strikes last summer, both Biden and former President Trump courted union workers, which can be a deciding factor in pro-union regions, especially swing states in the Midwest.
Biden, who boasts of being the most pro-union president ever, made history earlier this year when he joined autoworkers on the picket line in Michigan. The American Federation of Labor-CIO, which represents 12.5 million workers, has already endorsed him.
The Teamsters, who speak for 1.3 million people, are still considering all of their choices.
According to TJ Ducklo, Biden’s senior assistant for communications, in an interview with HEADLINESFOREVER, the president expressed his anticipation of working with the Teamsters to gain their support through the endorsement process. Ducklo added that the president has a strong working relationship with the union.
Regarding the Teamsters’ discussions, the Trump campaign chose not to comment.
Even without the backing of union officials, Trump has historically enjoyed widespread support among workers. Even though the Detroit rally was hosted by a non-unionized auto shop, Trump nevertheless rallied with autoworkers there during the UAW strike.
Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), was critical of Trump’s visit and claimed that Trump “serves the billionaire class,” rather than the working class.
Meeting earlier this month, Biden and Fain discussed the 2024 presidential election, although the UAW has not yet endorsed.
The Teamsters have announced plans to hold additional roundtable discussions in 2019 and to interview all presidential candidates.
“Every candidate should be aware that there are 1.3 million Teamsters nationwide whose votes will not be taken for granted,” O’Brien stated in a news statement, from the union.