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Union Loyalty or Political Gain? Casey’s Mixed Messages Raise Eyebrows

This article first appeared in Broad & Liberty.

Like many elected Democrats, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has been vocal in his support for the United Auto Workers on strike, a labor contest now entering its third week.

But when Casey isn’t praising the picket line, he’s busy raking in donations from political action committees for the “Big Three” automakers, according to Federal Election records.

Casey went on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to talk about the strike.

“When I was with the UAW workers in Bucks County yesterday, Local 2177, these folks told me directly what it means to have a union, what it means to their lives, to their families,” he said.

“They don’t want to strike, but these corporate executives… have gotten these huge payouts — millions of dollars for the CEOs and very little for the workers,” Casey added.

Some of those corporate profits have helped Casey’s campaign.

Donations from General Motors and Ford to Casey’s campaign committee, as well as to Casey’s Leadership PAC Keystone America, total $67,500 since 2007, according to FEC records.

Lobbyists who work for the Big Three have also been generous to Casey, giving him another $66,400. That figure includes donations from lobbyists working for Stellantis-NV, which, while headquartered overseas, includes the Chrysler brand and has several auto manufacturing plants in the U.S.

Requests for comment to Casey’s campaign and Senate office were not returned.

In that same time period, the UAW has contributed $20,000 to Pennsylvania’s senior senator.

“As with so many issues, Bob Casey wants to have it both ways and puts his feet in two buckets at the same time,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican political consultant and pundit.

“It’s always difficult to tell where Bob Casey truly stands. The issue of abortion is another prime example. He says he’s pro-life, but he votes pro-choice, so which is it? The same can be said of the UAW issue and many other issues,” Gerow said.

With the 2024 election less than 400 days away, Casey already has his first Republican challenger. Two weeks ago, Republican businessman and former hedge fund executive Dave McCormick announced his candidacy.

A progressive Democrat has also announced a run to Casey’s left. Blaine Forkner from Allegheny County threw his hat in the race last week.