Updated Jun 10, 2024 - Business

Teamsters president seeks speaking slot at both party conventions

Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien testifies during a Senate hearing on unions in Nov. 2023. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Teamsters president Sean O'Brien has requested to speak at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer, union spokesperson Kara Deniz confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The request comes as both President Biden and former President Trump are seeking a coveted endorsement from one of the country's most powerful unions.

  • "We have made it clear we want our members' voices heard at both conventions," Deniz said, adding that it's an unprecedented ask from the union. "Sean is a leader who wants to make sure our members' voices are heard."
  • The New York Times reported on O'Brien's request earlier Monday.

The big picture: O'Brien has invited several presidential candidates to speak before the Teamsters and has indicated he is delaying an endorsement decision until later in the year, per the Times.

  • The Republican National Convention is in July, followed by the Democratic National Convention in August.

State of play: Biden has described himself as the "most pro-union president ever" and last year became the first sitting U.S. president to visit a picket line.

  • The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has approximately 1.3 million members.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Nathan Bomey: Although the leadership of unions like the Teamsters and the UAW have historically been progressive, many of their members are conservative.

  • Case in point: The UAW has endorsed Biden for reelection but has acknowledged that about a third of its members voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect additional reporting.

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