Joe Biden will meet Wednesday with top union leaders as he seeks to reassure worried Democrats

Facing pressure from within his own party to abandon his reelection campaign, President Joe Biden is relying on labor unions to help make the case that his record in office matters more than his age.

The 81-year-old Democrat is set to meet Wednesday with the executive council of the AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of trade unions.

The AFL-CIO said the President has been booked to attend the meeting for more than a year, but his participation now involves much higher scrutiny after his weak debate performance against Donald Trump raised fears about his ability to compete in November’s election. His sit-down with union officials also overlaps with the NATO summit in Washington, where Biden is navigating geopolitics with other world leaders.

A person who has been involved in past executive council meetings described them as largely informal and unscripted, a sign that Biden will not be able to rely on a prepared text as he seeks to solidify support among a group of union leaders who are both loyal to his administration and pragmatic. The person insisted on anonymity to preview the private meeting.

A White House official, insisting on anonymity to preview the meeting, said that Biden intends to thank the union leaders for their support and outline his plans for the future. Biden is close to many union leaders who will be in the room, and considers AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler to be a personal friend.

The council is composed of more than 50 officials from the unions that compose the AFL-CIO, with the group representing 12.5 million union members.

So far, the unions are sticking with the Biden administration despite widespread fears that his age handicaps his candidacy after his shaky performance in the June 27 debate. But some statements of support are also worded diplomatically to suggest a degree of flexibility in case Biden chooses to drop out — saying they back the Biden-Harris administration and not just Biden personally.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have always had workers’ backs — and we will have theirs,” Shuler, the AFL-CIO president, said after the debate.

After Biden was interviewed by ABC News last week in the aftermath of his poor debate, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, posted on X: “Biden is an incredible President and tonight we saw that he’s on top of the details. He has my support and we’re ready to keep working for Biden-Harris to win in November.”

Some union leaders have been more targeted in their support for Biden and his continued candidacy.

United Steelworkers International President David McCall said before Wednesday’s meeting that his union “proudly supports” Biden, saying that his “record of delivering for working people stands for itself.”

Kenneth Cooper, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was also firmly behind Biden, saying that his union members “couldn’t ask for a stronger advocate.”

Wednesday’s meeting has become a test of the union movement’s strategy to emphasize Biden’s policy agenda as a way to overcome doubts about his candidacy. Biden routinely holds his events at union halls. He has conversed regularly with several of the union leaders at Wednesday’s meeting, knowing that the group is a key link at the local level to the voters that he says make him the Democrats’ best candidate in November.




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