President Biden boasted that he’s used the word “union” more than the past seven U.S. presidents “combined” during a speech in New Jersey on Monday.
Biden made the comment at the NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex in Kearny during remarks touting his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
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“It was pointed out to me not long ago that I said I’m a union president,” Biden said. “Someone calculated that I use the word ‘union’ more than the last seven presidents combined. Because guess what? It’s a decent wage.”
Biden’s speech kicked off the construction of the new Portal Bridge, a railroad bridge over the Hackensack River, which he said will add 8,000 union jobs.
“Aging infrastructure like this is more than an inconvenience or a nuisance,” he said. “It’s an impediment to America’s global competitiveness. We’re in a worldwide race. Things have changed. Take a look. That’s why what’s happening right now is so important.
“Today, we’re moving forward on a new bridge that will be higher over the water so it won’t need to open and close, allow us to increase speed, safety and efficiency and capacity,” he continued. “That’s going to make life a lot better for New Jersey’s commuters. It’s also going to create nearly 8,000 construction jobs in this area alone, 8,000 union jobs. Union.”
“It’s about to make rail transportation, which is a cleaner, greener way to travel, the better choice for a lot of New Jersey residents, but not just New Jersey, everybody up and down the East Coast,” he added.
Biden has promised to be the most pro-union president in American history and was the clear favorite among labor unions during the 2020 election cycle.
His closeness with teachers unions has faced fresh scrutiny after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced this month a new crackdown on the alleged threats and harassment of school officials and teachers across the country. The announcement came just days after the National School Boards Association, which represents more than 90,000 school board members, wrote a letter to Biden asking his administration to treat parent protests at school board meetings as possible acts of “domestic terrorism.” The union has since apologized for the language used in the letter.
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First lady Jill Biden, a professor, is a member of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the country.
“Your efforts were critical in Joe’s win,” she told the heads of the NEA and the AFT after Biden’s electoral victory in November. “Joe and [Vice President] Kamala [Harris] will not only listen to you, they’re going to make sure that your voices are leading this movement. They will fight for you every single day, and so will I.”