SEIU endorses Biden, will run 40-state voter turnout effort

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced Thursday it has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden and will mobilize for his campaign in 40 states.

The union, which represents more than 2 million workers, will spend $150 million on voter engagement efforts, with a specific focus on people of color who vote infrequently in battleground states, Politico reported. The union has already reached out to more than 3 million voters in states including California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to the publication.

SEIU will also launch a 40-state “Essential for Joe” campaign aimed at driving voter turnout, Politico reported. The campaign will be heavily centered on text messaging and social media, with a goal of reaching more than 6 million people.

“As union members, we do not take our endorsement process lightly. In our own way, we’re all feeling the crush of three crises right now—a pandemic our federal government has failed to contain, structural racism and police brutality that kills Black people, and a rigged economy that only ever worked for those at the top,” Terry Thomas, a Philadelphia-based certified nursing assistant, wrote in a statement Thursday.

“As we head toward November with unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression and a virus tearing through our communities, it’s clear this is not an election to sit out,” Thomas added.

Thomas cited Biden’s support for a $15 minimum wage and pledge to augment the Affordable Care Act with a federal public health insurance option and “perhaps most critically,” the former vice president’s efforts “to unite people across racial lines rather than fanning the flames of division.”

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who served on the unity task force set up by Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), told Politico that Biden is “meeting the moment by making it crystal clear that investing in our nation’s caregiving workforce is smart economics, as well as the morally right thing to do, because those jobs have been excluded historically [from labor protections], they’re done by women and people of color and immigrants.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Joe Biden SEIU

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