Biden and Sanders meet union organizers amid labor turmoil

Jul 17, 2023, 2:26 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters following his meeting with President Joe Biden at t...

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters following his meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With labor turmoil roiling industries from coast to coast, President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders met with organizers at the White House on Monday to talk about ways to boost union membership.

The organizers represent industries and workplaces that have not traditionally been represented by unions, such as Starbucks coffee shops and video game companies.

Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said outside the White House that more people are “standing up and saying it is important for us to have a union so we can earn better wages, better working conditions, better pensions and dignity on the job.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president believes that “worker power is essential for growing the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.”

The meeting took place as strikes have been launched and threatened around the country. Entertainment unions representing actors and writers have shut down film and television production over concerns about how revenue is shared in an industry geared more toward streaming content online.

“The president believes all workers, including the writers, including the actors, they deserve a fair pay,” Jean-Pierre said. “And they deserve fair benefits.”

She said the administration hopes that “the parties come together and have a mutually beneficial agreement as soon as possible.”

There’s already talk of its drivers might walk off the job as they struggle to reach a new contract with UPS. Negotiations have a deadline of July 31, and union leader Sean O’Brien said he doesn’t want the White House to get involved.

“My neighborhood where I grew up in Boston, if two people had a disagreement and you had nothing to do with it — you just kept walking,” he said on Sunday.

All of this is taking place as Biden pushes the Senate to confirm resolve a dispute between dockworkers and shippers, but that has not dislodged her nomination, which is opposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat.

Jean-Pierre said the White House had an “unwavering” commitment to Su and would continue to fight for her.


AP White House correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

National News

FILE - Leaders take their seats for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO summit in...

Associated Press

With words, deeds and arms deals, allies make the case for NATO in terms that would appeal to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — European allies in NATO are stepping up their military spending, just as Donald Trump wanted. They’re pointing to common interests, such as concerns over China. They’re creating American jobs by buying U.S. weapons. In words, deeds and arms deals, leaders of the United States’ partners in NATO are making the case for […]

9 minutes ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

PHOENIX (AP) — A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths, including retirees in Oregon, a motorcyclist in Death Valley, California and a 10-year-old boy who collapsed while hiking with his family on a Phoenix trail. Heat is the top cause of weather-related fatalities […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

The UN condemns increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace, stability and security in the country and the region. Friday’s resolution expresses grave concern at illegal arms and ammunition flowing into Haiti and their link […]

6 hours ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Inside the courtroom as case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday without a verdict but with tears of relief for the actor and a small coterie of family who had settled into a somber daily routine on wooden benches inside a windowless New Mexico […]

6 hours ago

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a speech during the opening of the High-L...

Associated Press

UN chief urges funds for Palestinians, saying Israel is forcing Gazans ‘to move like human pinballs’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief appealed for funding Friday for the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, accusing Israel of issuing evacuation orders that force Palestinians “to move like human pinballs across a landscape of destruction and death.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a donor’s […]

7 hours ago

Meals on Wheels employees take advantage of an assembly line to prepare bags of food for clients, F...

Associated Press

Houston community groups strain to keep feeding and cooling a city battered by repeat storms

HOUSTON (AP) — The deafening hum of a generator was a welcome noise Thursday evening at a Houston independent living center where several dozen seniors had lost power in the wake of Hurricane Beryl. Joe and Terri Hackl, who had pulled up with the backup electricity source after delivering hundreds of meals all day, estimate […]

8 hours ago

Biden and Sanders meet union organizers amid labor turmoil