August 5, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
While AFL-CIO leaders “were encouraged by our discussions” with five presidential candidates, President Richard Trumka said in a July 30 statement, the federation did not endorse any of them. The five, who met privately with the AFL-CIO’s executive board July 29-30, were Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernard Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Webb, plus Republican Mike Huckabee. Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley, who supported Clinton in 2008, told Bloomberg News he’d back her again if she took a stronger pro-labor stance.
“When we go out and say, ‘look, we need a $15 minimum wage nationally,’ but then support a candidate who says, ‘I’m against that,’” he said, “we have a problem.” Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, warned that a premature endorsement would be “like tipping the cab driver before you get in the car.” But others say it’s important for labor to get in the game. “The Koch brothers got boots on the ground right now,” said American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees President Lee Saunders, who also chairs the AFL-CIO executive council’s political committee. “We’ve got to put boots on the ground.” Read more