A prominent adviser to the 2020 campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden is working to advance the Trump Administration’s anti-worker USMCA trade deal.

John Anzalone, president of Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt and pollster and adviser for the Biden campaign, has joined Trade Works for America. Trade Works, co-founded by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, is working to pass the Trump replacement for NAFTA. The group’s funding comes from big business and “traditional GOP donors”.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is the Trump answer to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It isn’t worker-friendly, to say the least. Labor standards are “principles” instead of rights, USMCA lacks any funding for enforcement of those standards, and workers cannot get violating employers sanctioned on their own.

The Economic Policy Institute even argues that the murder of a union activist would not necessarily violate USMCA as it requires violations to occur “periodically and repeatedly.” This is despite the power that single violation can have.

“The NAFTA renegotiation requires strong labor rights provisions and strong enforcement provisions that as of today are not yet in the agreement,” the AFL-CIO said in a statement.

The poor worker protections in USMCA is one reason Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) called on the 2020 field to oppose the deal.

Trade Works hopes to spend as much as $20 million to get the USMCA passed, largely targeting vulnerable Democrats.

Beyond Anzalone’s actions reflecting poorly on Biden, however, the Biden campaign has managed to further muddle it’s intended pro-union message.

Biden’s first fundraiser was held by a union-busting lawyer. Another Biden fundraiser was protested by unions because it was held by a board member of a Los Angeles hospital locked in a labor dispute.

And in the targeting of competitive Democrats, Biden and Anzalone have a shared history as well — Biden’s influence helped Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) defeat Democratic challenger Matt Longjohn as a part of what Longjohn characterized as Biden’s political gamesmanship.

Taken together, Biden’s history and Anzalone’s recent moves prompted The Intercept to characterize Biden’s pro-union appeal as pure performance.


Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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