Biden cancels speech at teachers union convention in Philadelphia due to strike

Biden cancels speech at teachers union convention in Philadelphia due to strike

President Joe Biden has canceled his planned speech at the National Education Association (NEA) annual conference in Philadelphia due to a strike initiated by the union’s staff. The strike, which began on Friday, led to the establishment of picket lines around the Pennsylvania Convention Center, effectively ending the weeklong convention and canceling the last three days of programming.

Biden, known for his strong support of unions, decided not to cross the picket line. His campaign emphasized that the president is a “fierce supporter of unions and he won’t cross a picket line.” Despite the cancellation of his speech, Biden still plans to travel to Pennsylvania over the weekend.

The NEA, which has school employee union affiliates in every state, has endorsed Biden. The union’s staff organization, the National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO), set up the picket lines and planned a three-day strike at the event. NEASO has filed two unfair labor practice complaints against the NEA, accusing it of failing to comply with basic union requirements. The complaints include allegations of unilaterally removing holiday overtime pay and failing to provide information on outsourcing $50 million in contracts.

In response, the NEA stated that it remains fully committed to a fair bargaining process and expressed concern over what it described as misinformation that misrepresented the contract negotiations.

The NEA is the nation’s largest labor union, representing public school teachers, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The organization, founded in Philadelphia in 1857, had anticipated 7,000 delegates would attend this weekend’s conference in the city. The NEA said it would continue negotiations with NEASO, which represents 350 members of the NEA’s 3 million-member union.

Biden’s speech was planned amid ongoing challenges in his bid for reelection. Following a poor showing in his first presidential debate against Republican challenger Donald Trump, there have been discussions within the Democratic Party about whether Biden should continue his campaign. However, the White House has insisted that Biden is “absolutely not” dropping out of the race. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held in Chicago from August 19-22.

On Friday at 8 p.m., ABC News will air Biden’s first TV interview since the debate, a sit-down with George Stephanopoulos. This interview will provide the president an opportunity to address the growing concerns about his candidacy.

Biden last appeared in Philadelphia in May for an event with Vice President Kamala Harris to rally support among Black voters in the city.

Source: Associated Press, WHYY, Pennsylvania Capital-Star

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