Most unions run deep in support of Democrats but it was still something of a surprise this week when a pipeliners union came out and endorsed Joe Biden for President, even though he opposes the Keystone XL pipeline which is supported by the union.
Biden won the endorsement of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters on Monday — a 359,000-member union spanning sprinkler-fitters, pipeliners and plumbers — despite Biden’s own pledge to block the Keystone XL pipeline that the union continues to support reported POLITICO.
In fact, UA earlier this month said it was “ready to get to work” on the stalled project after reaching a project labor agreement with developer TC Energy and three other U.S. labor unions.
“That’s where we’re maybe at odds on a specific project, but Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to look at pipelines one at a time, they’re going to look at them on a basis going forward,” Mark McManus, UA’s general president said.
The union appreciated Trump’s work on getting the pipeline started, McManus said, but it was done “maybe ham-handedly” and he noted “we still don’t have it going.”
The union does not see a perfect candidate, McManus acknowledged, but he said criteria for the endorsement focused on where the candidates stood on union rights, infrastructure, retirement security and energy. On the latter, he said they weighed everything from nuclear power, clean water, HVAC work, retrofitting buildings and an all-of-the-above energy approach. “Joe Biden, quite frankly, checked more boxes, quite a few more boxes than the current president of the United States,” he said.
In particular, McManus said Trump had disappointed on infrastructure action and certified apprenticeship programs, and he pointed to the Obama administration’s work recovering from the recession. “Quite frankly, not the talk, [but] the actions of Barack Obama and Joe Biden basically fracked our way out of the recession at that point in time,” he said.