Democratic vice presidential candidate and Virginia Sen. Timothy M. Kaine reaffirmed ties to organized labor with a 40-minute speech on Aug. 22 at the Ironworkers’ union convention in Las Vegas, promising high-paying blue-collar jobs and infrastructure investment.
On stage with Kaine was his 81-year-old father, Albert A. Kaine Jr., who ran a small union-organized ornamental ironworks and welding firm in Kansas City, Mo. The elder Kaine also served on the union’s national pension-fund board for a decade.
The nominee vowed to fight “right-to-work” legislation at the federal level and reiterated opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership over enforceable labor, wage and environmental provisions, among other elements.
“We will not let the son of an ironworker lose,” General President Emeritus Walter W. Wise told the 1,400 union members in attendance..
Labor support, a traditional Democratic stronghold, is essential for cinching the election, particularly in Midwest battleground states where wages have stagnated and manufacturing job losses have hurt workers.
Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton last year secured the 130,000-member ironworkers' union endorsement, joining the Carpenters, Laborers, and Operating Engineers as early building trades' union supporters.
Kaine later toured a local plumbers and pipefitters’ union training center, seeking support, especially in Nevada, where the polls are close, in the race between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
“Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are running for a third Obama term … that will guarantee continued stagnant wages, higher taxes and unnecessary regulation,” said a Trump Nevada campaign statement, issued before Kaine’s speeches.