Joe Biden is a “true supporter of working people” with “strong ties to organized labor.” And his “working-class brand” just might be the Democratic Party’s “best chance of bringing union members — not necessarily the leadership but the rank and file — back into the Democratic fold.”
Or so early reports on Biden’s nascent candidacy would suggest. The Democratic front-runner will officially kick off his campaign on Monday at the Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard at his side — and a crowd of steelworkers decked out in “their USW gear” cheering him on. Meanwhile, the International Association of Fire Fighters is preparing “an organized effort to boost Biden in the early-voting states.”
But before Biden calls on the workers of western Pennsylvania to unite, he plans to show solidarity with the forgotten men and women of the union-busting and telecom-lobbying industries.
On Thursday night in Philadelphia, Comcast’s chief lobbyist David Cohen will host a high-dollar fundraiser for Biden’s campaign. Former Governor Ed Rendell and the “top lobbyists and lawyers in Pennsylvania” will be in attendance; among those lawyers will be a “longtime Biden ally” named Stephen Cozen.
Earlier this week, Cozen told Politico that the fundraiser aimed “to demonstrate to others that [Biden’s] got this very broad band of support at the lowest level, not necessarily even at the highest level, where I’m sure — I know for a fact — there are people with a lot of money sitting out there waiting for Joe to get in. That’s not what we’re concentrating on. We’re concentrating on building the bottom.”
Cozen is the chairman of the esteemed law firm Cozen O’Connor. As Payday Report noted Wednesday, if you go to the firm’s website, you can read up on its speciality:
Stephen Cozen and his colleagues are eager to help “a broad spectrum of private and public sector employers” to “prepare for and respond to picket lines, strikes, lockouts, and other economic campaigns,” and/or “avoid unionization through positive employee relations.” The firm further assures its prospective clients, “Our attorneys manage labor relations with a clear eye toward the bottom line.”
Most of the Democrats’ 2020 candidates have eschewed high-dollar corporate fundraisers, seeking instead to assemble highly engaged progressive voters into small-dollar armies. But if courting corporate cash isn’t an ideal look for a Democrat in 2020, at least Biden is seeking the sponsorship of a universally beloved company like Comcast — whose name is synonymous with quality customer service — and a lawyer like Stephen Cozen, whose speciality in no way contradicts the Biden campaign’s core narrative. What’s more, it’s not like Biden has ever given voters any reason to suspect that telecommunications companies or well-heeled interests hostile to working people might enjoy undue influence over his actions in public office.
All in all, it is in no way depressing to know that Biden really does have significant support within the labor movement, particularly among its whiter, maler unions, which seem to take less exception to his coziness with their literal class enemies than they do comfort in his political incorrectness.