WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of large U.S. labor unions and environmental groups, on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president, saying he has put forward achievable plans to tackle climate change and the health and economic hits from the coronavirus pandemic.
It was the first time the group has backed a candidate for public office in its 14-year history.
Jason Walsh, the head of the alliance who worked in the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama, said the group made the endorsement because Republican President Donald Trump has been “the most anti-worker and anti-environment president of our lifetime.”
The White House, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The administration says it has helped workers by boosting the economy before the pandemic, and will do so again. Trump, who has no climate plan on his campaign website, says the country has clean air and water.
Walsh said that Biden, who was vice president under Obama, recognizes that Americans can have both good jobs and a clean environment. Biden has proposed $2 trillion in spending to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.
BlueGreen Alliance’s labor members include the United Steelworkers, the Utility Workers Union of America, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and four other unions. All had come out previously for Biden.
Its environmental members include the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and the National Wildlife Federation.
Not all unions support swiftly moving off fossil fuels. Last month, studies commissioned by North America’s Building Trades Unions found that oil and gas projects provide high-paying jobs and surpassed opportunities in renewable power such as wind and solar.
Biden said in a statement that if he wins on Nov. 3, he would bring labor and climate leaders together to “restore America’s global leadership by powering our economy with clean energy and building our economy back better.”
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)