Clinton Boasts The Union Success Sanders Wishes He Had

Connor D. Wolf | Reporter

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised the labor movement in a video Wednesday after months of receiving union endorsements over Bernie Sanders.

Sanders looked destined to win over the labor movement early on in the election. His policy stances aligned almost perfectly with what labor unions had been fighting for. Local unions flocked towards Sanders while national unions delayed endorsing anyone. National unions eventually broke their silence to endorse Clinton. Her latest campaign video showcased her appreciation for the support.

“The work you do may not be as well understood and appreciated as it should be,” Clinton said in campaign footage included in the video. “People that do that hard work every single day. And so, I know what you are doing and I know how hard you are fighting for your members to have a decent standard of living. I will be a president who will stand up for you and fight for you too.”

Sanders has consistently advocated for policies unions support while Clinton has often done the opposite. Clinton lost favor with many unionized workers earlier for her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and her hesitance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. National unions, though, were hesitant towards endorsing Sanders out of concern he was simply not electable.

“If anyone asks you if labor will have a seat at the table in my White House, I hope you know the answer,” a written quote in the video states. “Of course you will, labor built the table.”

National labor unions found themselves stuck between the electability of Clinton and their alignment with Sanders. They eventually decided to delay their endorsements altogether. When Vice President Joe Biden announced Oct. 21 he would not be running national unions began to move in support of Clinton.

Clinton won her biggest union endorsement Nov. 17 from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She has also been able to secure support from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the American Federation of Teachers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The AFL-CIO is one of the few remaining major unions to not endorse a presidential candidate. An online petition urged leadership within the union to endorse Sanders. The AFL-CIO executive council is responsible for endorsing a candidate, while the union political committee submits recommendations. Other unions typically decide through an internal election process.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent a memo to the leaders of associated unions in July telling them not to endorse Sanders. Trumka has also been critical of Clinton for her policy stances.

Sanders won his biggest union endorsement Dec. 17 from the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Larry Cohen, former union president, had already pledged in July his support for Sanders. He is now leading Labor for Bernie which consists mostly of local unions who support Sanders. The United Electrical Workers and the National Nurses United have also decided to support Sanders.

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