July 25, 2024

Economic Divide: Biden’s Union Leadership vs. Trump’s Worker Appeal

President Joe Biden recently met with AFL-CIO union leaders, reaffirming his stance as the most pro-union president in American history. However, despite Biden’s confident declarations, the rank-and-file workers seem to be increasingly swayed by former President Donald Trump’s appeal. This growing division within the union landscape could significantly impact the upcoming elections.

The Union Leaders’ Support

Union leaders, predominantly from liberal and left-wing backgrounds, have shown strong support for Biden. This backing is crucial as unions have historically played a significant role in mobilizing voter bases. Biden’s policies on labor rights, minimum wage increases, and worker protections resonate well with union leaders, positioning him as a champion of their cause.

The Rank-and-File Shift

Despite the leadership’s endorsement, many union members are leaning towards Trump. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, representing 1.3 million members, is set to speak at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. This move underscores a notable shift among union workers, who are feeling the pinch of economic challenges under the current administration.

Economic Woes Under Biden

Union workers, like many Americans, have experienced significant financial strain during Biden’s term. Since Biden took office, overall prices have surged by 20%, with groceries also seeing a 20% hike, energy costs rising nearly 40%, and gasoline prices remaining high at $3.50 per gallon. In contrast, during Trump’s administration, the average weekly earnings increased from $60,151 to $65,216. However, under Biden, these earnings have declined by approximately $3,000 to $62,248, effectively reducing workers’ take-home pay.

Trump’s Appeal to the Working Class

Trump’s ability to connect with the working-class population, including African Americans, Hispanics, Whites, and young people, forms the backbone of his coalition. His narrative of common sense and economic improvement resonates strongly with those feeling neglected by the current administration’s policies.

Discontent with Biden’s Policies

Many union members are dissatisfied with Biden’s handling of key issues. The administration’s stance on open-border policies has been criticized for exacerbating public safety concerns. Additionally, the autoworkers union is unhappy with the Green New Deal mandates and the push for electric vehicles (EVs), fearing job losses to China. These workers are also opposed to the ultra-liberal values promoted by Biden, including DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) regulations and gender mandates in schools.

Trump’s Proposed Solutions

Trump has capitalized on these grievances by promising to reverse many of Biden’s policies. He aims to end EV mandates, reduce energy costs by expanding fossil fuel production, cut middle-class taxes, and protect American industries from unfair trade practices. His focus on practical solutions to economic issues makes him an attractive candidate for many union members.

Key Takeaways

  1. Union Leadership vs. Rank-and-File: While union leaders largely support Biden, rank-and-file workers are increasingly leaning towards Trump due to economic dissatisfaction.
  2. Economic Impact: Biden’s term has seen significant price increases and reduced earnings for workers, contrasting with the wage growth experienced under Trump.
  3. Public Safety and Jobs: Union members are concerned about open-border policies and the potential job losses from EV mandates, issues Trump addresses directly.
  4. Cultural and Social Policies: Discontent with Biden’s liberal policies on gender and DEI is driving union members towards Trump’s more conservative stance.
  5. Trump’s Promises: Trump’s proposed policies focus on reversing Biden’s economic decisions, cutting taxes, and protecting American jobs, resonating with working-class voters.


As the 2024 election approaches, the divide within the unions between leadership and rank-and-file workers becomes increasingly evident. While Biden may retain the backing of union leaders, Trump’s focus on economic improvement, public safety, and cultural issues is winning over the working-class voters. This shift highlights the complexities of voter alignment and the critical role economic conditions play in shaping political preferences.


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