Business group urges Trump to reconsider Teamsters convention speech – Washington Examiner

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A right-leaning group that opposes labor unions has come out against former President Donald Trump‘s decision to invite the Teamsters president to address the Republican National Convention.

Sean O’Brien, the head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, had expressed interest in speaking at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention, prompting Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, to extend him an invitation.

O’Brien’s interest underscores the opening his organization sees as Trump steers the party in a populist direction. The former president has actively sought to earn O’Brien’s endorsement and, by extension, cut into President Joe Biden’s union support.

But not all Republican-aligned groups are happy with the speech, the first time a Teamsters leader will address a GOP convention. The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, an umbrella group of business interests, is opposing O’Brien’s presence at the convention in Milwaukee next month, citing his union’s work supporting Democrats and “an anti-business, anti-worker agenda.”

“The Teamsters, and specifically their president, have routinely pursued policies that would harm American workers, Main Street businesses, and the economy at large,” the group’s chairwoman, Kristen Swearingen, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “O’Brien’s policy priorities include forcing union membership on workers and destroying businesses if they do not cave to his demands.”

“Allowing O’Brien to take the stage at the Republican National Convention gives credibility to a dangerous policy agenda and a platform to an individual who ignores workers’ rights and opinions,” Swearingen continued. “The RNC and former President Trump should reconsider their invitation.”

The chairwoman pointed to a recent report from the Center for Union Facts that showed from 2019 to 2022, the union spent “over $9 million to left-leaning advocacy, while only directing $57,050 toward
bipartisan efforts and $7,877 toward GOP-led initiatives and campaigns.”

The Washington Examiner has contacted the Teamsters and the Trump campaign for comment.

Both Biden and Trump have attempted to woo union members ahead of their general election rematch in November. O’Brien, who heads the 1.3 million-person labor union, met with Trump twice this year, including a Mar-a-Lago meeting in January that Trump described as a “great dinner.” In March, Biden met with O’Brien at the Teamsters headquarters, where he emphasized his support of unions and the labor movement.

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The union raised eyebrows when it donated $45,000 to the Republican National Committee’s convention fund earlier this year. Biden won the group’s endorsement in 2020, but the Teamsters have not yet endorsed during this year’s election.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace was created in 2005 to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation died in the Senate after passing in the House, in part due to the coalition’s multimedia campaign against it. The group has also targeted the National Labor Relations Board’s “regulatory overreach.”

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