Union Members Are Supporting Donald Trump Despite Unions Endorsing Joe Biden

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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Rank-and-file union members in swing states have remained steadfast in their support for President Donald Trump, according to local labor leaders in key Midwestern states.

Although almost every major union has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for president, they have been dismayed by their members’ support for Trump, Politico reported. Trump won many union households in 2016, a voting block that largely hadn’t supported Republican presidential nominees before.

“We haven’t moved the needle here,” Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Knisley told Politico. “Even if given all the information that’s been put out there, all the facts — just pick an issue that the president has had his hands in — it doesn’t make a difference.”

He added, “The biggest argument that I have from our membership is that this isn’t a blue-collar, working-class Democratic Party that my dad or mom was in. It’s morphed into something different.”

An internal North America’s Building Trades Unions poll showed members supporting Biden slightly over Trump with a 48% to 47% lead, according to Politico. (RELATED: ‘Campaign Against Working Families’: Three Major Unions Sue Michigan Over New Labor Laws)

“He has a very, very, very solid foundation of our members,” International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Vice President James Williams said, Politico reported.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Jerry Alander Carpenter Training Center in Hermantown, Minnesota, on September 18, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Jerry Alander Carpenter Training Center in Hermantown, Minnesota, on September 18, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Large unions who have officially endorsed Biden include the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Trump’s union member support comes primarily from building trades unions in blue-collar, Rust Belt states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“You’re not going to change a Trumpster’s opinion,” Minnesota United Steelworkers staff representative John Arbogast said, according to Politico.

Biden has made several campaign stops in recent weeks addressing union leaders in Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He said the upcoming election is a battle between Scranton and Park Avenue in a CNN town hall on Thursday.

Union households favored Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by 8% over Trump in 2016, according to The Washington Post. The last Republican to garner similar union support was former President Ronald Reagan.

In Michigan, Clinton had a 13% advantage among union households compared to Obama’s 33% advantage according to exit polls, Politico reported.

“We’re still digging into that,” American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations political director Michael Podhorzer told Politico after the 2016 election.

“It is clear that the Democratic party needs to more clearly offer an alternative to corporate power as the basis for their funding and for their economic policy,” former president of the Communications Workers of America Larry Cohen said, according to Politico.

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