Despite decades as a self-styled champion of blue-collar workers and a product of Pennsylvania suburbs, one major union chapter is making it clear that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not getting its endorsement ahead of the 2020 election.
As reported by The Washington Times, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) chapter of Philadelphia broke with its national union leadership in issuing an endorsement of President Donald Trump.
“Pledge our full support”
The IAFF was the first major labor union to issue a national endorsement of Biden shortly after he declared his candidacy last year.
According to the leader of Local 22 IAFF Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union, however, that endorsement was put forth without input from local chapter leaders or rank-and-file members.
Chapter President Mike Bresnan offered the local Trump endorsement in a press release distributed this week.
— IAFF Local 22 (@IAFF22) September 29, 2020
“The members of Local 22 respectfully break with the undemocratic IAFF endorsement of Joe Biden and pledge our full support to President Donald J. Trump,” he wrote.
“A wake-up call to IAFF leaders”
Roughly 4,700 current and retired first responders are represented by the chapter and participated in a survey that found “overwhelming” support for the incumbent president.
Specifically, Bresnan praised the Trump administration for putting back into service a number of fire engines following shutdowns implemented under President Barack Obama. As for the national union endorsement, he said it “was done without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership.”
In explaining the reason his chapter’s members showed such allegiance to Trump, he wrote that they “know what is at stake in this election,” describing the endorsement as “a wake-up call to IAFF leaders that have lost touch with the will of the membership.”
The president took notice of the endorsement, calling it a “great honor” in a tweet on Tuesday.
This endorsement is the latest in a line of such announcements, including from the nation’s largest police union, and could signal trouble for Biden among many of the very blue-collar voters he claims to represent.