WASHINGTON (NEWSnetAP) — President Joe Biden is calling on his connection with labor unions to help make the case that his record in office matters more than his age.

Biden, an 81-year-old Democrat, is set to meet Wednesday with the executive council of the AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of trade unions. This comes at a time when political attention is tightly focused on the presidential campaign; former president Donald Trump, age 78, is the leading Republican candidate.

The AFL-CIO said this meeting had been booked for more than a year.

Biden's meeting union officials overlaps with meetings at the NATO summit taking place this week in Washington, where he is navigating geopolitics with other world leaders.

A White House official, insisting on anonymity to preview the meeting, said that Biden intends to thank the union leaders for their support and outline his plans for the future. Biden is close to many union leaders who will be in the room, and considers AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler to be a personal friend.

The council is composed of more than 50 officials from the unions that compose the AFL-CIO, with the group representing 12.5 million union members.

So far, the unions are sticking with the Biden administration despite concerns after his shaky performance in the June 27 televised debate against Trump. But some statements of support are also worded diplomatically — saying they back the Biden-Harris administration.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have always had workers’ backs — and we will have theirs,” Shuler, the AFL-CIO president, said after the debate.

Biden routinely holds events at union halls, visited a UAW picket line during the auto strikes last fall, and has tied his administration to the idea that labor unions built the middle class.

He also canceled a speech planned for the conference of the National Education Association in Philadelphia after the union’s staff announced a strike and formed a picket line.

For his part, Trump has reached out to union members, having met in January with officials in the Teamsters Union. Trump said afterward that although Republicans generally don’t get backing from organized labor, “in my case it’s different because I’ve employed thousands of Teamsters and I thought we should come over and pay our respects.”

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