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2024 Election

Washington state’s largest labor union endorses ‘uncommitted’ over Biden

The biggest state chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers suggested it is concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to defeat Donald Trump.
Joe Biden at the White House
Joe Biden at the White House on Feb. 26.Andrew Harnik / AP

The biggest labor union in Washington state endorsed voting “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic presidential primary next month, citing concerns about President Joe Biden’s political strength and his support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

The Washington chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers has over 50,000 members, making it the largest chapter of that union in the nation. The deeply Democratic West Coast state holds its primary on March 12.

In a statement shared first with NBC News after its executive board voted on the endorsement Wednesday night, the Washington union called Biden “an ally to workers over the last four years,” but suggested it is not confident in his ability to defeat likely GOP nominee Donald Trump in November.

“Currently, many voters, and UFCW 3000 executive board, feel that the best path to have the best nominee, and to defeat Trump, is to vote ‘uncommitted,’” the union said in the statement. “The hope is that this will strengthen the Democratic party’s ultimate nominee to defeat Trump in the General Election in November.”

“We need a nominee who can run and beat Trump to protect workers across this country and around the world,” the statement continued.

The union made it clear that it will support Democrats in the fall, vowing it will be “sending staff, members, and resources to any swing state across the nation to support the Democratic nominee to win and defeat Trump.”

But the move by a liberal state’s largest labor union shows some parts of the Democratic base are still not fully on board with the president’s re-election yet.

This week in Michigan, home to a large Muslim and Arab community concerned about the war in Gaza, about 13% of Democratic primary voters chose “uncommitted” over Biden. That will mean at least two uncommitted delegates will be seated at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

The Washington union praised those who voted “uncommitted” in Michigan and said “Biden must push for a lasting ceasefire and ending US funding toward this reckless war.”

Meanwhile, The Stranger, a prominent alt-weekly publication based in Seattle, also endorsed the idea of voting “uncommitted,” expressing disappointment in the options of  Trump and Biden, whom it referred to as the “two genocidal geriatrics leading the polls.”