Transit Union Announces Biden Endorsement After Supporting Sanders in 2016

February 1, 2020 Updated: February 1, 2020
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A major transit union is backing former Vice President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential race after supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016.

“Joe Biden has been a true champion of working Americans throughout his career,” John Costa, President of the Amalgated Transit Union, said in a statement.

“We know he will fight to rebuild the middle class by restoring the rights of labor, advancing racial justice and equity, and bolstering our economy through unprecedented investment in public services like transit.”

The decades Biden, 77, served in the U.S. Senate in addition to his eight years as vice president played a large role in the endorsement decision by the union’s General Executive Board, Costa said. The vote came after an extensive poll of the union’s membership that evaluated the field of candidates and which issues were most important to them.

Costa cited Biden’s support for the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act, proposed legislation that would protect transportation workers from attacks, and said Biden would help push an initiative from House Democrats that calls for investing $760 billion in infrastructure improvements.

“This is a pivotal moment in U.S. history and our nation needs a leader that will bring back respect, dignity, and civility to our country. Joe Biden is the right person for working people and America,” said Costa.

The union represents more than 200,000 members, including school bus drivers, subway operators, and mechanics, in the United States and Canada.

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Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a campaign rally at University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, on Sept. 28, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The union supported Sanders in 2016, citing his “sincerity” and “long standing fidelity to the issues that are so important to the working people.” Sanders vied for the Democratic presidential nomination but ultimately lost to Hillary Clinton, who went on to lose to Donald Trump in the general election.

The endorsement came after Sanders, 78, was endorsed by the American Postal Workers Union, which also has over 200,000 members.

“We’re pleased that a number of presidential candidates have positions and have taken actions supportive of postal workers and expanding union rights. But when we judge candidates by their long-term and consistent actions, Bernie Sanders stands out as a true champion of postal workers and all workers throughout the country,” Mark Dimondstein, the union’s president, said in a statement announcing the endorsement on Thursday.

“Bernie Sanders has proven he is a fierce advocate on the side of postal workers. He has opposed the closures of postal facilities and reduced service standards. He has been a leader in the fight for expanded postal financial services and was the lone senator who stopped postal privatizers from appointments to the Postal Board of Governors.”

Sanders has also been endorsed by the National Nurses United, a nurses union, and the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which also endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 70.

Biden’s other labor union endorsements include the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

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