President Joe Biden has for decades depicted himself as a blue-collar guy from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and part of his political persona is an appeal to the lunch bucket crowd—working-class voters. In the pivotal “battleground” states in the Midwest, many blue-collar workers are represented by labor unions, so it is no surprise that Biden’s presidential campaign focused on the union vote. NBC News reported that “Biden’s campaign began at a union hall in Pittsburgh, a city with deep ties to organized labor, and it ended nearby with an election-eve promise to be ‘the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.’” His campaign platform was a wish list of policies favoring labor unions.
The gambit worked. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Democratic candidates in the 2020 election cycle received more than 87% of the $74 million donated by labor PACs and union-affiliated individuals, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.” According to NBC News exit polls, Biden won 56 percent of union households to Trump’s 40 percent, doubling Hillary Clinton’s 8 percentage-point margin among the group four years earlier. Having delivered money and votes for Biden, organized labor expects Biden to honor his pledge to govern as a pro-union president. After being out of political favor during the Trump administration, union leaders are counting on Biden to help stem the long decline in union membership and influence. Within days of his inauguration, Biden was already delivering.