WSJ: AFL-CIO Head Richard Trumka Says Union Support for Biden Was Strong

Thursday, November 5, 2020

By Alex Leary, Wall Street Journal

Democrat Joe Biden gained more of the vote from members of the AFL-CIO than Hillary Clinton did four years ago, its president said, crediting laborers for the party’s wins in key states.

"Simply put, we got out the vote," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Thursday. "In Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden's firewall was union made. And the labor movement is expanding the map--look at Arizona, look at Georgia."

Fifty-eight percent of AFL-CIO members voted for Mr. Biden, Mr. Trumka said, citing an internal post-election survey. He said support for Mr. Biden was 4 percentage points higher than the member backing Mrs. Clinton received in 2016.

Mr. Trumka said while Mr. Biden’s victory wasn’t final he was confident in the outcome. "Tom Petty got it right when he said 'the waiting is the hardest part,'” he said. “Every vote must be counted."

The leader of the country’s largest labor federation called 2020 a "year of anger and sorrow and civil unrest, a year of unfathomable loss" but said unions had delivered for America by stocking shelves, fighting fires and caring for the sick.

He played down results in Ohio, saying there weren't enough votes to counter Mr. Trump's support. The president won in the Lordstown area, where General Motors drew his criticism for closing a plant in 2019.

"You have frustrated people, you have angry people," Mr. Trumka said.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations comprises 56 national and international labor unions, representing 12.5 million workers.