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August 2023

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IBEW Front and Center as Biden Kicks Off Campaign Among 'Old Friends'

President Joe Biden's first rally of the 2024 presidential campaign was a coming-home celebration in the house of labor.

"I look out in this crowd, and I see a lot of old friends," Biden said to a sea of orange, blue, black, green, yellow and purple T-shirts, each emblazoned with the name of a union and a declaration of support for Biden.

The rally was an unprecedented show of unity from organized labor. Members of the IBEW and dozens of the unions in the AFL-CIO turned out in the Pennsylvania Convention Center that June day, joined by non-AFL-CIO unions including the SEIU and the NEA .

Philadelphia Local 98 Political Director T.J. Lepera said his members showed up for the rally because of the work President Biden is delivering to the membership through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

"Our only allegiance is to our members and our union, so our support is always about what's coming," he said. "The hydrogen hub in south Philly? We are on the federal short list Biden created. The tax credit for data centers in Pennsylvania, that's [Pennsylvania Gov. Josh] Shapiro and the Democrats in Harrisburg. In the city, the solar roof contract to put PV panels on top of every school, again it was Democrats. Our message is that if you show up to put us to work, we'll show up and work for you."

At times the rally was like a conversation, with people in the crowd volleying questions at Biden, mixed with interruptions of support, hoots of derision when the January 6 rioters were mentioned, and chants of "Let's go, Joe! Let's go, Joe!"

"We've created 13 million new jobs since I became president. That's more jobs in a little over two years than any president has created in one four-year term," Biden said.


President Joe Biden launched his 2024 reelection campaign with an address in a raucous room of union members in Philadelphia.


Philadelphia Local 98 apprentice Chris Litton voted third party last election but said he appreciates that Biden brought work to the IBEW.


Recruiter and instructor Teila Allmond took to the rally stage to galvanize the crowd before the president's speech.


After the rally, some of the IBEW's contingent took over the stage. International President Kenneth W. Cooper is at center with AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, a member of Portland, Ore., Local 125.