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Vice President Harris coming to Philadelphia to speak at SEIU convention


Vice President Harris coming to Philadelphia to speak at SEIU convention

May 18, 2024 | 1:16 pm ET
By Kim Lyons
Vice President Harris coming to Philadelphia to speak at SEIU convention
Vice President Kamala Harris, center, laughs with crews working with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace a lead water line on Lakewood Avenue in Pittsburgh's Elliott neighborhood on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Vice President Kamala Harris will return to Philadelphia on Tuesday to deliver the keynote speech at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) convention, the White House announced Saturday.

The visit will be the vice president’s fourth trip to Pennsylvania of 2024; she joined actress Sheryl Lee Ralph for a conversation on reproductive rights in Montgomery County on May 8, and spoke at a roundtable discussion on student loan debt with educators in Philadelphia last month.

In February, Harris visited Pittsburgh to highlight the Biden administration’s $5.8 billion funding towards lead pipe removal and clean water projects. The funding for that project, which includes more than $200 million for Pennsylvania, is part of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The vice president’s Tuesday appearance will come a day after the SEIU is scheduled to elect a new president. April Verrett, SEIU secretary-treasurer, is running unopposed for the position, and union leadership has expressed its support for her candidacy. Verrett would be the SEIU’s first Black president.

Harris joined SEIU and nursing home care workers in Wisconsin last month, to announce two final rules to establish minimum staffing requirements for federally funded nursing homes, and help raise pay for home and community-based service workers.

The SEIU represents about 2 million healthcare, service and government workers, and said in March it planned to spend $200 million to support President Joe Biden’s reelection bid, as well as help Democrats in presidential battleground states in 2024.

Biden has cast himself as the “most pro-union president,” and has garnered endorsements from large labor organizations, including the United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers, among others. He told steelworkers during an appearance in Pittsburgh last month he was a “union guy from belt buckle to shoe sole.”

He’s believed to be the first president ever to walk a picket line, when he joined striking UAW workers in Michigan last September.