Trumka: Biden a Champion in Every Sense of the Word

Below is a transcript of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's video message, following the federation's endorsement of Joe Biden for President of the United States:

I’m Rich Trumka, and on behalf of the 12.5 million members and 55 unions of the AFL-CIO, we are proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.

We know Joe. And Joe knows us. 

He’s been to our union halls. He’s marched on our picket lines. He is a champion in every sense of the word. 

As our unions voted to endorse Joe, I couldn’t help but think back to when I was 12 years old, sitting on my grandfather’s porch in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania. 

I made a promise to him that night to use my career to help people. 

About 300 miles northeast in Scranton, Joe was embarking on a similar journey that would eventually take him to our nation’s capital. 

But D.C. didn’t change him. He changed D.C. 

As a senator and later, as vice president, Joe used his voice and his vote to advance the cause of working people. 

He fought for living wages, health care, retirement security and civil rights. 

He did everything he could to create a fairer process for forming and joining a union. 

And he never lost his core goodness. Joe’s greatest asset is his character. 

When he gives us his word, we can take it to the bank. 

When he tells us he cares, we know it’s true. 

Joe has overcome unspeakable tragedy in his life. He has buried children. He lost a spouse. And all the while, he has kept going. He has kept serving. And he has never lost faith.

Joe Biden is writing a comeback story. And all across America, working people are doing the same. 

We’ve been knocked down. We’ve been counted out. We’ve been told our time is up. 

But in the face of corporate greed and political sabotage, we’ve not only survived. We’ve risen. The labor movement has overcome the sustained and vicious attacks of state legislatures, the Supreme Court, the United States Senate and yes, the White House. 

Gallup puts our approval at 64 percent, a nearly 50-year high. 60 million workers would vote to join a union today if given the chance. 

We’ve organized and mobilized and gone on strike to win better contracts, better policies and better lives.

And we’ve responded to the coronavirus with passion and dedication, even as our federal government falls down on the job.

Just imagine what working people can accomplish with an ally in the White House. 

This endorsement is about working people’s hopes and aspirations. It is an expression of support for Joe Biden. 

But it is also a clear rejection of our current trajectory. 

Donald Trump campaigned as a friend of workers, talking about a new direction and a new day after decades of policies that left us poorer and weaker. 

Some working people, desperate for a rapid departure from business as usual, took a chance on Trump. Look, I get it.

And then, over the past four years, the president showed his true colors. 

He slashed rules designed to protect us on the job and cut workplace health and safety inspectors to their lowest level in history.  

He took away overtime pay from millions of workers. 

At every turn, he has actively undermined collective bargaining and the freedom to form a union. 

And his response to COVID-19 has been delinquent, delayed, disorganized and deadly.

Worse yet, Donald Trump has used the highest office in the land to divide America, scapegoating immigrants, degrading women and playing on people’s worst fears. 

That’s our choice this year. Between Donald Trump’s pettiness and negativity, and Joe Biden, who is the embodiment of goodness and decency. 

This is a moment, and an election, for our better angels. 

Working people have overcome the politics of inaction and hostility. 

We have confronted our fiercest bullies and made it through to the other side. 

Joe Biden has done the same.

Now is the perfect time to join forces on behalf of the country we love. 

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement. 

And with the full force and unmatched reach of our political program, we are ready to pave that road for our friend Joe Biden. 

Thank you.