Building Trades Choose Biden


WASHINGTON, DC— President Joe Biden took the stage April 24 for the Building Trades annual national legislative conference and his first words were “Whoa—holy mackerel!” 

That’s because several thousand delegates from across the United States and Canada were smacking thundersticks, shouting and clapping when the President appeared at the podium of the Hilton Hotel.

Introducing President Biden, Building Trades President Sean McGarvey said, “North America’s Building Trades Unions can honestly say no elected official has shown our members and their families more respect than President Joe Biden.

“Through his policies and his personnel, President Biden has demonstrated his laser-like focus on not only rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing sector but rebuilding the American middle class itself.”

With that track record of success, McGarvey announced that Biden has won the endorsement of North America’s Building Trades Unions, as he did in 2020. 

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President Joe Biden at the annual Building Trades conference in Washington, DC.
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Building Trades Executive Secretary Ernesto Medrano helps escort Labor Secretary Julie Su.
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UA Local 761 Business Manager Greg Lewis, center, and representative George Balli.
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Thousands of Building Trades delegates attend.
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California sends the biggest delegation.
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The conference always ends at the US Capitol steps.
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NABTU is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Its unions, including the 48 that belong to the LA/OC Building Trades, and their signatory contractor partners invest almost $2 billion in private-sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities.

As a major driver of economic development, NABTU plays a big role in the presidential election.

McGarvey addressed openly the candidacy of former President Donald Trump, who received many Building Trades members’ votes when he ran in 2016 and 2020, and is the likely Republican nominee for 2024.

The Biden endorsement is not about a wide spectrum of issues, McGarvey said. It’s about which candidate has produced results and jobs for Building Trades members. 

McGarvey described a series of disappointments and broken promises from Trump.

“When Trump was elected, we took him at his word that he would have a worker-centered agenda and deliver on long-stalled issues such as infrastructure investment,” McGarvey said. “Instead of delivering, he aligned himself with his billionaire buddies to enact tax cuts that raised costs for our members. Simply put, he failed to deliver.”

Biden took the stage and had a lengthy record to tout.

“We’ve attracted nearly $700 billion in private-sector investment in advanced manufacturing, in semiconductors, clean energy, and so much more here in America, creating tens of thousands of good-paying, Building Trades jobs,” Biden said. “In fact, construction of new factories has more than doubled in our administration.

“Folks, we’re moving again. We’re moving again as a country. We have the best economy in the world, but we’ve got a lot more to do.”  

After the speeches, the LA/OC delegation headed to Capitol Hill. As the delegates were preparing to leave Washington and return home, McGarvey and the NABTU staff turned to the mission of the months ahead: winning votes for Joe Biden, especially in states like ArizonaNevada, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“In the coming months, we will continue to engage our membership and their families directly, member to member, door to door, and jobsite to jobsite, with an unprecedented field program in key battleground states,” McGarvey said. “We will tell them how important President Biden and his policies have been to them, their economic security and their freedoms.”

Arizona and Nevada share borders with California, and many Southern California local unions cover workers in those states.

“We will make sure to send the message to our Building Trades brothers and sisters across the state lines,” said LA/OC Building Trades Executive Secretary Ernesto Medrano. “Their votes count more than ever this year. We are going to stand shoulder to shoulder to re-elect Joe Biden.”

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