(LAS VEGAS) -- Vice President Joe Biden said today at the Teamsters’ 28th International Convention that unions are the only institution protecting the middle class from assault by concentrated power and wealth.
Biden said recent attacks on working people by politicians in state capitals and Congress represent “the most direct assault on labor in modern American history.”
During the five-day convention, which closed today, Teamsters focused on the war being waged on workers by extremist politicians in the states and in Congress. Biden’s remarks echoed the union’s message that attacks on unions are attacks on the middle class.
“What other institution in America has the power to take on this concentration of power and wealth?” Biden said. “It’s you.”
“For white-collar workers in the middle class who don’t see any relevance to unions, for my kids, for my grandkids, we can’t lose this war,” he said.
Biden said the difference between the Obama administration and Republicans is their commitment to the middle class.
“Look at Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, on and on. Did you ever think that in 2011 you’d be fighting against right to work for less again?” he said.
“In their vision you have no place at all in our vision you are the place,” he said. “Without you there is no American Dream. There is no possibility. We stand with organized labor because you’re standing with the people who are struggling to get a chance.”
Biden’s remarks came near the end of the convention. After he spoke, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa closed the convention.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Hoffa. “We’ve got to make sure we get working on the American Dream.”
The International Convention, held every five years, is the supreme policymaking body of the union with the power and authority to modify the Constitution, establish programs, address fiscal issues and set priorities.
A number of resolutions were passed this week on issues such as protecting pensions, fighting unfair trade agreements, keeping the border closed to unsafe Mexican trucks, worker misclassification, stopping the war on workers, supporting the National Labor Relations Board and preserving jobs and standards.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Go to www.teamster.org for more information.