Biden notches another union endorsement as building trades back reelection

U.S. President Biden delivers remarks at a conference held by the North America's Building Trades Unions, in Washington

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden secured another union's backing on Wednesday as the organization representing American construction workers lined up behind the Democratic incumbent and called Republican candidate Donald Trump a dangerous threat to the nation.

The head of the North America's Building Trade Union, which hosted Biden at its legislative conference in Washington, said in an ad that Trump "was not a good man" and was only focused on returning to the White House "to exert revenge on people."

"His dark side is very, very dark and very, very dangerous for this country," said NABTU President Sean McGarvey, who said he has known Trump, a real estate developer who served in the White House from 2017-2021, for decades.

"We can't let our democracy that we've worked for and we've cherished just disintegrate with the wrong leader at the wrong time."

McGarvey said Trump did not fix workers' pensions or follow through on long-promised infrastructure improvements, which also factored into the group's support for his Democratic rival. Biden signed a landmark 2021 infrastructure law and his 2022 Inflation Reduction Act included billions of dollars in infrastructure spending.

Biden created "the biggest infrastructure boom this country has ever seen," he told MSNBC in a separate interview, calling him "the most pro-union ... pro-worker president that this country has ever seen... we see the results."

Biden welcomed the endorsement, saying during a speech at the conference that it will help him beat Trump in November's presidential election. He contrasted his upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Donald Trump's white-collar background.

"If you grew up where we grew up, nobody handed you anything," Biden said in front of a raucous audience, some of whom were sporting "Building Trades for Biden-Harris" shirts.

"Donald Trump's vision of America is one of revenge and retribution, a defeated former president who sees the world from Mar-a-Lago, who bows down to billionaires and looks down on union workers," Biden added.

Biden and Trump will face each other again in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 5 in what looks set to be a divisive, closely fought contest.

Representatives for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest union to announce its endorsement.

In January, Biden secured the United Auto Workers union's support. A number of other unions have not announced their choice in November's contest, including the Teamsters and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Asked about members who are strident Trump supporters, NABTU's McGarvey acknowledged they may not be persuadable.

"What matter is the 15% of people that are persuadable, that are open to hearing the facts and making up their own mind," he told MSNBC. "A lot of our members are patriots and they do not like the way that this ex-president is talking about what he's going to do if he's elected to another term."

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Susan Heavey and Nandita Bose; additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by David Gregorio)