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Union Strike Prompts President to Cancel Speech at NEA Convention

U.S President Joe Biden

United States – President Joe Biden is not planning to address the largest U.S. teacher’s gathering on Sunday, the White House stated after the union staff declared a walkout.

The National Education Association Staff Union said it would strike on Friday, encouraging the NEA members to join the picket line on the streets of Philadelphia during the NEA convention this weekend, as reported by Reuters.

“President Biden is a fierce supporter of unions, and he won’t cross a picket line. The president is still planning to travel to Pennsylvania this weekend, and we will have more details to share at a later point,” the campaign said.

Disputes and Response

The union has revealed it filed two unfair labor practice complaints with the NLRB this week concerning overtime nonpayment and unanswered information requests.

The NEA stated that fake news was made regarding the current contract negotiation, but it is ready and willing to engage in legal collective bargaining.

“NEA’s goal is to craft collective bargaining agreements with our staff unions that balance the interests of our members, affiliates, and staff while reflecting our mutual commitment to students, union values, and racial and social justice,” a spokesperson said.

The representative did not say anything in response to the Biden decision.

NEA’s Support for Biden

Biden will still attend a campaign event in Pennsylvania on Saturday, with specifics yet to be provided by the campaign.

The National Education Association, with a membership of 3 million, supported the democratic president in both the 2020 and 2024 presidential campaigns.

Biden, whose wife, Jill Biden, is a teacher and NEA member, labels himself as the most pro-union president in American history. Since he took office in 2021, he has backed several measures concerning worker rights, such as signing legislation to protect union pensions and other pro-union legislation/positions.

In September, Biden supported the members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union in a strike against General Motors and advocated that the workers should get a 40% raise in their pay.

Union Endorsements in Swing States

Such a meeting has never taken place in the history of the United States with striking workers by a president. The UAW endorsed him in January, but he did not immediately get the organization’s support for his reelection bid, as reported by Reuters.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Donald Trump, his Republican opponent in the upcoming Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election, are seeking union support mainly in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

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