In breaking with the Big Labor mothership, one of New Hampshire’s largest employee unions has announced it will not endorse President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign — at least not now.
Instead, State Employees Association/Service Employees International Union (SEA/SEIU) 1984 said it wants to see competition for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
“After careful consideration and in stark contrast to the State Employees’ Association affiliate, Service Employees International Union, we want to make it clear that *we are not endorsing @JoeBiden for re-election in the presidential race at this time.*” the local tweeted Wednesday, a day after Biden rolled out his campaign for a second term.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
After careful consideration and in stark contrast to the State Employees’ Association affiliate, Service Employees International Union, we want to make it clear that *we are not endorsing @JoeBiden for re-election in the presidential race at this time.*
— SEA / SEIU 1984 (@SEIU1984) April 25, 2023
The 80-year-old president, who has described himself as the “most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history,” will need every bit of Big Labor support he can get to win re-election.
For the moment, some locals, like SEA-SEIU, want to see a vetting contest, not a coronation.
“Following a robust analysis of the current political landscape, we have come to the conclusion that our members and New Hampshire voters deserve a competitive Democratic Primary,” the local, which represents more than 10,000 public and private sector workers across the Granite State, wrote in a tweet.
“While we respect President Biden’s decades of experience in public service and his commitment to public policy, we believe that his record and actions during his first term as president do not merit an automatic re-endorsement,” the tweet thread continued.
Local union leaders say they want a president who will “champion a significantly higher minimum wage, the PRO Act, Railroad workers’ right to strike , Starbucks workers’ right to organize and truly all working people’s rights to a living wage.”
Some in organized labor are miffed that their pro-union man has failed to deliver on his promise of the so-called Protecting the Rights to Organize (PRO) Act, which critics say would give labor unions more power at the expense of flex-time workers and end the “labor market as we know it.” Biden has been unable to use his bully pulpit to get the unpopular bill through Congress.
Biden’s backing of the contract that his administration brokered last year with the nation’s rail worker unions didn’t sit well with some, despite the deal’s 24 percent pay raise. The agreement staved off a strike that could have crippled the U.S. economy.
Roadway mechanic Reece Murtagh told NPR the deal sets a bad precedent when even the most pro-labor of presidents will force an agreement rather than allow workers to strike.
“Joe relied on us to get him home to his family,” roadway mechanic Reese Murtagh said. “But when it was his turn to help us out… to better our life, he turned his back on us.”
Biden’s quest for a second term comes as seven in 10 say they don’t want the Democrat to run again, including 51 percent of Democrats. The NBC poll found nearly 7 in 10 respondents who prefer Biden retire from the Oval Office said age is a factor.
Democrat voters do have options, albeit a limited field of challengers to the incumbent. Marianne Williamson, a 70-year-old author and “spiritual adviser,” was the first Democrat to declare her candidacy. Anti-vaccine activist and Kennedy family scion Robert F. Kennedy Jr. officially launched his campaign earlier this month.
The Democratic National Committee, however, much like in 2016, seems more interested in holding a coronation than a primary contest. Williamson on Wednesday blasted the DNC for deciding not to hold primary debates in 2024, asserting both political parties should “stay out of the issue” until primary voters have weighed in. It’s more likely party bigwigs are concerned that their anointed octogenarian gaffe machine will be a debate disaster on the scale of John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s stroke-scarred U.S. senator.
Williamson said she was not surprised by the DNC’s move.
“Disappointed, certainly, because I believe in democracy. I believe that the political parties should stay out of the issue until the primary voters have weighed in. And then whoever wins the primaries, that’s who the DNC – or the RNC, for that matter – should support,” she told Fox News Tonight.
In New Hampshire, Biden holds an 8-percentage point lead (25% to 17%) over his nearest potential rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), followed by former first lady Michelle Obama (10%), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (9%) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (8%), according to last week’s University of New Hampshire poll.
Kennedy was polling at 2 percent, while Williamson was at 1 percent.
Sanders, 81, on Wednesday, endorsed Biden, ruling out a 2024 run. Warren recently launched a 2024 Senate re-election campaign. And Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey she’ll “never, ever run for president.”
The New Hampshire SEA/SEIU local said it recognizes that the decision not to endorse Biden right now may not be shared by all members and supporters, “but we hope that they will understand that we are acting in the best interests of our union, our community and our country.”
“We will continue to monitor the political landscape and engage in discussions with other candidates who share our values and vision for the future. We encourage all our members to exercise their right to vote and to support candidates who reflect their values and beliefs,” the union said in the tweet thread.
We will continue to monitor the political landscape and engage in discussions with other candidates who share our values and vision for the future. We encourage all our members to exercise their right to vote and to support candidates who reflect their values and beliefs.
— SEA / SEIU 1984 (@SEIU1984) April 25, 2023
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “SEA / SEIU Local 1984 Rally” by SEA / SEIU Local 1984.