July 13, 2015
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has sent a memo telling state and local branches that the “endorsement for president and vice president belongs to the national AFL-CIO.” The memo was sent out after state AFL-CIOs in Vermont and South Carolina passed resolutions backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
While state federation leaders are familiar with the rules, “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen [a memo] before like this,” said Jeff Johnson, head of the AFL-CIO’s Washington state labor council. “We’re desperately searching for a candidate that actually speaks to working-class values. The Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders camp is very, very attractive to many of our members and to many of us as leaders, because they’re talking about the things that need to happen in this country.” To win the AFL-CIO’s endorsement, a presidential candidate has to be recommended by the federation’s Political Committee and win a two-thirds majority among the leaders of its member unions. Sanders supporters hope they can persuade the AFL-CIO to at least stay neutral in the Democratic primaries. Trumka warned front-runner Hillary Clinton in May that it might not endorse her if she failed to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Read more