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Center for American Politics

Comcast Union Buster Hosts First Fundraiser for Joe Biden

Just hours after announcing, Biden raised big money from a union busting lawyer and CEO

Kris LaGrange's picture
Apr 26, 2019

Joe Biden finally announced the launch of his Presidential Campaign in a 3:30 video on Thursday. Biden is already the front runner, having led almost every poll. The former Vice President is also expected to get a lot of support from unions, especially the United Steelworkers (USW) and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is even hosting the kickoff rally. However, just hours after his campaign launch, Biden held a high dollar fundraiser with one of the most notorious union-busting lawyers and corporate executives in Philadelphia.

The fundraiser is being hosted at the home of Comcast Executive President David Cohen. While many of the sponsors were elected officials from Pennsylvania, one host stood out, Stephen Cozen, the founder and chairman of the union-busting law firm Cozen O’Connor. On the law firms website, they state that they specialize in union busting advertising and that they help employers “avoid unionization through positive employee relations and regain nonunion status when employees indicate they no longer wish to be union-represented.” They also brag that “We also help employers avoid unionization through positive employee relations and regain nonunion status when employees indicate they no longer wish to be union-represented.”

The $2,800 a plate fundraiser being held at a Comcast executive’s home also raises questions about Biden’s commitment to labor. Comcast was described by the IBEW in 2011 as one of the most anti-union companies in the telecom industry. "It is the Walmart of the cable and telecommunications industry," says Downers Grove, Illinois, Local 21 Business Manager Ronald Kastner. "There isn't much they won't do to keep unions out."

Although Biden is paling around with union busters, he may have some support among misguided and easily fooled union members espcially the ones that helped elect Trump in 2016. According to Politico, USW President Leo Gerard believes that many of his members will be supporting Biden. A classic case of the lunatics running the looney bin.

“Clearly many of us in the labor movement and in our union are friends with Vice President Biden. He’s been a true supporter of working people and their agenda. He’s someone who we’ve worked with a lot and we all admire tremendously,” Gerard told Politico. “I can say that it would be an understatement to say that our members admire and look forward to working with Vice President Biden”.

USW has not made a formal endorsement of Biden yet. They are likely to follow the AFL-CIO’s lead and wait to see how the primary plays out before issuing a formal endorsement. However, Gerard will be by Biden’s side as he holds his first campaign rally on Monday. The rally will be held at Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh.

Biden has also focused on winning over rank and file support for his campaign. In just the last few weeks, Biden has spoken at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) conference, the IAFF, and joined striking United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members on the picket line in Dorchester Massachusetts. In fact, some trusted sources have told us here at UCOMM, who are leaders within the above-mentioned unions, that they will blindly support Joe Biden no matter what. After hearing this, I reminded them of the grave mistake the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) made in coming out early for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Unfortunately, they had no interest in learning from their mistakes.

While Biden has a long record of supporting working people, he also has a long record of working with big business, especially in the financial industry and advocating for job-killing deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Over the next year, Biden will need to prove to union members that he really has their backs if he wants to sit in the Oval Office in 2021. 

We suggest that the organized labor community think twice before hopping in bed early with a candidate that they feel their members will support. The union movement failed to ask their members who they thought best represented their interest the last time around and with that failure, they delivered us, Donald Trump. This time around it may be best to ask instead of coming out with an endorsement first.

 

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