CBS News: How some workers are voting in the crucial state of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pennsylvania holds 20 votes on the electoral college map, making it one of the most valuable prizes going into the 2020 election. Also home to more than 700,000 union members, winning the state may come down to blue-collar workers. Some of them spoke to "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil about which candidate they think could promise the best future for them. 

"I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," welder Luke Wanchock said. "They're pro-labor. I've never watched a Trump commercial and seen him mention anything about union labor."

Wanchock works at the Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, a massive new Shell project announced during the Obama-Biden years. 

President Trump, who carried Pennsylvania by less than 1%, once claimed at the energy plant that "this would have never happened" without his presidency. 

"I don't believe a single word he says," Wanchock said. "My livelihood is working with my hands…I feel like he's giving more opportunity to the billionaires to make more off the working class."

He acknowledged that Democrats had been in power while union membership decreased and CEO pay increased, but said "all politicians share some of the blame for that."

Mr. Trump capitalized on that blame in 2016 when he won more union votes nationwide than any Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan. In Pennsylvania, he won White voters without college educations by a margin of more than two to one.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is working to win back crucial union votes. 

His position as a self-proclaimed "union man" took a hit in March when he appeared to say he wanted "no new fracking," and although he clarified his position, groups supporting the Trump campaign quickly weaponized the comments in the gas-rich state.

Rich Fitzgerald, a Biden supporter and the top elected official in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, helped broker a deal to lease land at Pittsburgh International Airport for fracking. In the first five years, it generated an estimated $97 million in revenue — something he said saved the struggling airport. 

Fitzgerald also said the natural gas industry was "huge" to his area, but expressed confidence in the former vice president and his plan to have the U.S. running on carbon-free power by 2035. 
Fitzgerald explained that "carbon capturing" was the way into the future.

"Technologies are improving the production of not only the carbon — by the way, much less carbon — because of natural gas, much less than coal and oil," he said.