Top officials at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, a building trades union, endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday, adding momentum to the Biden campaign’s outreach to organized labor in the final weeks of the election.
Newton Jones, international president of the Boilermakers; William Creeden, international secretary-treasurer; Lawrence McManamon, international vice president, Great Lakes; and J. Tom Baca, international vice president, Western states, each sent the Biden campaign a letter offering their official endorsement of Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee.
“As you are all too aware, this is an unprecedented time in our country where differences of opinion have escalated to extreme divides, even among friends and family and among the brothers and sisters of the Boilermakers union,” Jones wrote in his letter. “Now, more than ever, we must find a way to re-unify our nation. I look to you and Senator Harris to be the leaders who will do just that; so that we, as a nation, can move forward once again to a strong and promising future.”
Despite the endorsements from its top officials, the Boilermakers union itself, which has 60,000 members who often work in the fossil fuel industry or related fields, has still not endorsed Biden’s campaign. And at least one prominent local branch of the union, Pittsburgh’s Local 154, which operates coal-fired power plants, endorsed President Donald Trump in September based on Trump’s support for coal-based energy.
At his live town hall a week ago, Biden incorrectly stated that the Boilermakers union had endorsed him because of his embrace of the natural gas industry, including the controversial drilling technique known as fracking.
The Boilermakers’ officials letters on Thursday were a deliberate effort to respond to the pushback Biden received for this claim.
In his letter, Jones stated that his intention was to “make abundantly clear my personal position of support for you and Senator Kamala Harris and to diminish any confusion in the matter.”