Casey says rights are at risk in the 2024 election

PITTSBURGH – Shortly after thanking dozens of union members and leaders for supporting his re-election bid, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (R-PA) stood near a large-scale mural of a jumpsuit-clad worker looking beyond the Pittsburgh skyline and summed up the 2024 election cycle in one word: laws.

“If you and I were having this conversation, say 15 to 20 years ago, and you said that this election was going to be about women’s rights, labor rights and voting rights, I would have said, ‘Well, this is not where the elections are going to be held because these the laws will be determined,” Casey said. “But now these three rights are at risk in this election.”

His special focus for this day: Workers’ rights. Dressed in jeans and a gray sweater, Casey addressed a cordial crowd at the Plumbers Union Local 27 headquarters in a suburb west of Pittsburgh. He was there to gain the support of the Pittsburgh Regional Construction Trades Council, which supports 33 local unions representing a wide range of workers, from carpenters to plasterers to electricians to masons.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro introduced Casey and said the senator seeking a fourth term “faces the battle of his career” in his campaign against Republican challenger David McCormick. Pennsylvania’s race could be one of the most exorbitant in the country. In fact, Shapiro said, the Keystone State will play a key role in the 2024 election cycle.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that whoever wins the presidential race here in Pennsylvania is likely to be the next president,” he said. “And I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that whoever wins the Senate race in Pennsylvania will determine who governs the United States Senate.”

Throughout his 15-minute speech, Casey reminded listeners of the contrasts between himself and McCormick and between the Democratic and Republican parties. Casey noted his support for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would make it easier for workers to form and maintain unions. The bill lacks the support to overcome Republican obstruction in the Senate.

“It’s not just that they don’t support strengthening unions with the PRO Act,” he said of Republicans. “Every day of the week they try to weaken unions, trying to take away their right to organize. We need to stop them, not sit down and talk to them about it, not hold their hands – stop them from trying to destroy unions… the right to organize is at risk.”

Casey listed several ways his work in Washington has benefited union members and working Americans. He mentioned his support for the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill, as well as the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan, i.e. the Covid-19 stimulus package.

These bills, he said, helped families and created jobs.

“I have delivered goods to workers in this state and supported them,” Casey said.

Again, Casey compared his votes to that of McCormick, a wealthy former hedge fund manager who has said he will roll back what he calls the Biden administration’s “incredible, expensive” policies that he believes are fueling inflation.

Casey, however, pointed to improvements resulting from the flow of federal funds he said he helped secure to rebuild and modernize roads, bridges and other infrastructure in the Pittsburgh area – he cited the Fern Hollow Bridge, the Parkway East Bridge, the New Kensington Bridge, among others. , as well as replacing lead pipes in Wilkinsburg, West View and the city of Pittsburgh.

“We have never seen an investment like this from the federal government in the last three years,” Casey said.

Casey condemned McCormick for his investments in China, which the senator described as a “predatory regime.” He mentioned a bill he introduced with Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) that would require screening of U.S. investments in China to determine whether those investments threaten America’s national security or economy.

“I’m looking forward to a big fight and a big debate about who’s getting tough on China,” Casey said.

After the event, Casey explained the importance of support from unions and labor organizations like the one that offered their support on Wednesday:

“Many of the major issues that we’re debating in this country – energy and how to build a neat energy economy, how to create jobs, how to combat climate change and not leave workers behind – all of these dynamics are at play in the work we do,” he said. he said. “They bring a level of experience to these debates that politicians sometimes don’t have. That’s why we benefit from learning from and listening to these members and industry leaders.

Casey said the Republican Party has changed in recent years. He noted that in the past, Republican candidates for elected office sometimes used labor assistance. This is not the case today, he said. In fact, many Republican leaders in office when he was younger would not survive today’s GOP.

“Unless you are far-right and MAGA is not right, they don’t even look at you,” he said.

Before Casey’s speech, two labor leaders mentioned their support for Casey.

Edward J. Bigley, business manager of Plumbers Union Local 27, said that “the construction industry supports candidates who support us” and called Casey “a representative of working people, organized labor and, above all, the construction industry.”

Greg Bernarding, the trade council’s business director, described Casey as “someone we can count on and rely on. “He has a proven track record of fighting for workers, including supporting efforts to protect union jobs and successfully passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill that creates thousands of union jobs here in Pennsylvania.”

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