Firefighters union leader on Biden endorsement: 'He has a track record of delivering'

The head of the International Association of Fire Fighters said Monday that the labor group backed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s 2020 presidential bid because he has a “proven track record” of representing union members and working families.

“He has a track record of delivering, and we’re a group that measures it pretty straightforward,” Harold Schaitberger told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on “Rising.”

“Joe Biden has had the backs and stood with firefighters across this nation throughout his Senate career, and certainly as vice president of the United States, and so we’re now prepared to stand with him,” Schaitberger said.

He added that Biden has long supported a number of worker-related issues, including fair wages, retirement security and protecting union rights.

The International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents more than 300,000 firefighters and paramedics nationwide, endorsed Biden on Monday, making them the first major labor group to endorse a 2020 candidate.

"Joe's a lot like our firefighters. He's a problem solver who cares deeply about America and committed to making our country better,” Schaitberger said in the group’s video announcing the endorsement.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE later blasted union chiefs in general, saying in a tweet that he will "never get the support of Dues Crazy union leadership, those people who rip-off their membership with ridiculously high dues, medical and other expenses while being paid a fortune. But the members love Trump."

The firefighters union stayed on the sidelines during the 2016 election. Schaitberger, who was interviewed before Trump lashed out at union leaders on Monday, told Hill.TV that even though the group supported former President Obama's two campaigns, they could not get behind Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE three years ago.

"The fact of the matter is our membership supported Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Debate gives Democrats a chance to focus on unaddressed issues of concern to black voters Is Joe Biden finished? MORE in his first election and they supported his reelection," the union leader said. "Unfortunately, the candidate that followed, Hillary Clinton, seemed to abandon the voice and the connection and the issues that were critical to not to just firefighters but workers in general."

The endorsement came just hours before Biden is expected to hold his first official campaign event at a union hall in Pittsburgh.

—Tess Bonn