In an effort to garner support from one of the Democratic Party’s traditional allies, President Joe Biden’s communications team decided it was time for him to declare his allegiance to organized labor. Taking to Twitter, Biden proclaimed, “I make no apologies for being the most pro-union president in American history.” Unfortunately for the president, this statement did not go unchecked.
While showing support for unions may have been a strategic move to counter recent dips in polls, it seems the communications team forgot that Twitter users are quick to fact-check. Using the platform’s “Community Notes” function, users added a statement and a link to a Reuters article that refutes Biden’s claim. The note highlighted that on December 22, 2022, President Biden signed a bill to block a railroad union from striking.
The Reuters article, titled “Biden signs bill to block U.S. railroad strike,” reported that the president signed the bipartisan legislation, which passed the Senate with an 80-15 vote, despite the objections of four labor unions. Eight other unions ratified the deal.
Teamsters President Sean O’Brien expressed his frustration on Twitter, stating that rail carriers were making record profits while rail workers received zero paid sick days. The system was failing, he argued, as paid sick leave is a basic human right.
The responsibility for the bill’s final outcome fell squarely on President Biden. He even enlisted the help of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to convince Senate Democrats to vote for the bill, preventing a work stoppage and imposing the rail deal without the sick leave workers wanted.
Twitter users were quick to respond to the president’s boast, with some agreeing with his claim but still unimpressed by the outcome. The contract imposed by the Senate included a 24% compounded pay increase over five years and five annual $1,000 lump-sum payments, according to Reuters.
The lesson here? When making bold claims on social media, be prepared for the truth to come to light.