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IBEW Media Center

IBEW Endorses Joe Biden

After a unanimous vote, union made a "rare" early endorsement of the former Vice President

Kris LaGrange's picture
Feb 05, 2020

With results slowly trickling in, it looks like former Vice President Joe Biden will finish in fourth place in the Iowa Caucus. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We took a gut punch in Iowa,” said Biden.

Fortunately for him, not all of the news is bad as he locked up a major union endorsement on Wednesday. The 775,000 member International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced that they would be endorsing Biden. In a statement on the union’s website, International President Lonnie Stephenson laid out the argument for endorsing him.

“Vice President Biden has been a longtime friend of working families and the IBEW,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “Joe has a long record of standing up for union members, and we believe it’s in the best interest of IBEW members to elect him president. Most importantly, Joe has listened to us on the energy issues critical to 85% of our members who work in the industry, and his priorities and policies have been shaped by those conversations.”

Stephenson noted that all of the candidates running in the Democratic primary have endorsed important legislation like the PRO-Act, but they said Biden’s focus on jobs was what pushed the union to make an endorsement. “That’s what makes Joe Biden different. It isn’t just his support for our rights on the job, but his support for good energy jobs,” Stephenson said. “Our country needs a realistic plan to combat the ongoing threat of climate change without putting energy security or working families at risk.”

Some of the positions that the IBEW highlighted that helped Biden stick out where his support for an all-of-the-above approach to slashing carbon emissions, which includes a mixed portfolio of low and zero-emission alternatives as a realistic transition to a carbon-free future. Biden has also proposed the nation’s largest-ever investment in clean-energy technology, as well as an aggressive clean-power infrastructure plan that will make the United States a global leader in fighting climate change while putting tens of thousands of Americans to work building the energy economy of the future.

The IBEW isn’t the only union getting off of the sidelines this year. So far Biden has been endorsed by the National Association of Government Employees, the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, and the International Association of Fire Fighters. Other candidates have also received union endorsements. Senator Bernie Sanders has gained the support of National Nurses United, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union and the United Teachers of Los Angeles. Sanders also received a joint endorsement with Senator Elizabeth Warren from UNITE HERE Local 11 in LA.

The IBEW noted that they are not usually a union that makes such an early endorsement. In 2016, the union waited until June 8th to endorse Hillary Clinton. “There’s an urgency this year we haven’t seen in a very long time,” Stephenson said. “Irreversible decisions about the energy future are being made today. We must have a candidate for president who supports IBEW jobs and IBEW values. This president’s policies have been disastrous for working families, full stop. Job sites are more dangerous; organizers are more likely to be fired; wage theft now exceeds all other forms of theft combined, and he never even made a serious effort on the bipartisan infrastructure plan he promised four years ago.”

The decision to endorse Biden was made at the annual officers' meeting this week. According to the union, the vote was unanimous to support Biden.

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