The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), one of the nation’s most prominent labor unions, announced Wednesday it will host a presidential forum Saturday with six Democratic White House contenders.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and businessman Tom Steyer are all slated to participate. IBT, which represents 1.4 million members nationwide, invited candidates who participated in an on-camera interview with the union and agreed to sign its three-point pledge.
The candidates will appear individually on stage at the event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and will take questions from journalists Leslie Marshall and Art Cullen and Teamsters members from Iowa and other key 2020 states.
The forum will focus on the issues of pensions and retirement security, collective bargaining rights and fair trade policies. It is being organized by the union along with The Guardian and The Storm Lake Times.
The event comes as the 2020 Democratic primary field competes for the support of labor groups as the party works to win back working-class voters who traditionally vote for Democrats but flipped to President Trump in 2016.
Several of the campaigns have also released plans to expand workers’ collective bargaining rights and limit employers’ power to curtail unionization.
Staffers on a number of the campaigns have themselves unionized, including those on the campaigns of Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).