Pete Buttigieg brings a message to York County union members

Pete Buttigieg brings a message to York County union members

  • Ben Wasserstein/WITF

Pete Buttigieg brings a message to York County union members

Ben Wasserstein / WITF

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Jeff Chambers could be considered a man of many talents.

Since his teens, he has worked in manufacturing, helping build things like the B-1 bombers and spending 30 years at Harley-Davidson.

Originally from York, he joined his first union at around the age of 19 and has been involved with several unions for over four decades.

He retired in 2020 and is a member of Local 175 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“The benefits and salaries really paved the way for me to retire comfortably,” he said.

Chambers was in attendance at the 78th annual convention of the Pennsylvania State Council of Machinists Wednesday in York.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was the guest speaker and blasted former President Donald Trump for his inconsistency in getting things done for the American people.

“He’s not a guy who usually keeps his promises,” he said. “He did not keep his promise to drain the swamp. He failed to deliver on his promise of 6% economic growth. He did not keep his promise to build the wall.”

Buttigieg called President Joe Biden “the most pro-worker, pro-union president in modern times.”

Biden became the first sitting president to join a picket line when he marched with the striking United Auto Workers last September.

One of the first things Biden accomplished after taking office was signing the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which provides $550 billion to improve things like roads, highways and bridges from 2022 to 2026.

Chambers said that since Biden became president, he has noticed a slew of new projects.

“I’m seeing a lot more road repairs going on and right now in the city (York) we have a lot of gas and water lines being replaced,” he said. “All of this will only make this economy much stronger going forward.”

Tim Buck of IAMAW Local 1968 shared Chambers’ sentiment about the former president and current presumptive Republican Party nominee for the position.

“He didn’t do anything,” he said. “All he did was take care of his friends. That’s all he did. And think about it. How many people did he fire? It was the best thing since a slice of bread. And all of a sudden, they didn’t do what he wanted. They were gone”

Buck spent 18 years as a machinist and is now Lawrence County Democratic chairman.

He expressed concern about Trump’s re-election as infrastructure booms and unemployment rates fall.

“The workforce is moving, the jobs are moving, so is the infrastructure,” he said. “I come upon this turnpike; look at the cranes there. I go up to Erie; everything is being worked on somewhere. We are in a good state right now.

Although unemployment rates reached an unprecedented peak at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have continued to decline since.

Chambers said he was worried about Trump’s election and a possible overhaul of the U.S. government.
“He will demolish everything this government proposes,” he declared. “I mean he brought down our election. Nobody trusts elections anymore. And now he’s going to do the same thing with the justice system, you know?

Trump was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments to an adult film actress before the 2016 election.

But the former president and many in the Republican Party claim — without evidence — that the justice system has been weaponized.

Chambers said he feared Trump would use his position to punish his political rivals.

“I haven’t heard anything from Joe Biden at all, but I’ve certainly heard a lot from Trump about who he will go after once he’s elected,” he said. “So he’s basically a hypocrite, a damn hypocrite if you ask me.”

Trump has also tried to gain support from unions, including meeting with the Teamsters in January.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party and Donald Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.