AFL-CIO shifts resources away from Obama, Democrats

Holly Bensur Contributor
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President Barack Obama should probably think about either campaigning with the “fine” private sector or changing his policies to gain back unions’ trust.

The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the U.S., announced in the middle of election season that it will redistribute funds away from supporting political candidates.

According to the U.S. News’ Washington Whispers, “The federation says the shift has been in the works for months.”

“We wanted to start investing our funds in our own infrastructure and advocacy,” AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein told Whispers. “There will be less contributions to candidates.”

Whispers says this means funds will be pulled from candidates “including President Obama.”

Although this withdrawal of support comes a week after the president neglected to appear in Wisconsin, where labor unions led a failed recall campaign against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Goldstein claims the strategy “is not a slight at the president.”

“Some candidates will get more, some less, some the same — but overall we’ll be focused more on spending resource to built our own structure [that] works for working people instead of others’ own structures,” Goldstein said.

This should come as no surprise to Obama since there has been conflict with the AFL-CIO on issues like a public health insurance option and renewing the Bush era tax cuts.

AFL-CIO’s funding and support was a crucial component in previous presidential campaigns. In the 2008 election, the federation pushed the “Get Out The Vote” movement and made significant financial contributions.

For this election, however, AFL-CIO would rather build a long-term relationship by giving “different support to different candidates,” Goldstein said.

During a speech at the National Press Club in May, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka threatened to cut funding for the Democratic Party in order to focus on “an independent labor movement” if the party didn’t increase its support for union political objectives.

Trumka said, “We will change the way we spend, the way we do things and the way we function created power for workers,” The Associated Press reports.

Goldstein, however, told The Daily Caller that U.S. News misrepresented what he said.

“No, the story is not entirely accurate and we are addressing it with the publication,” Goldstein told TheDC.

Goldstein referred TheDC to a blog that paints the AFL-CIO’s motives in a better light by saying, “Trumka looks to ‘independent’ labor movement to help the working class, not a specific party or candidate.”

Goldstein would not answer when asked how much the federation intends to pull from Obama’s presidential campaign in order to “help the working class.”

When asked if non-Democratic candidates would now receive funding, Goldstein again had no comment.

“While it is true, as stated more than a year ago, that we are focused more on building our own political structures now than simply direct contributions to candidates or parties, that does not necessarily mean we are reducing funding overall or to any particular candidate. Those decisions have not yet been made,” Goldstein told TheDC.

“It is simply a continuation of what we’ve been talking about for more than a year,” Goldstein said. (RALPH NADER: Obama ‘abandoned’ Wisconsin, ‘betraying the working people of this country’)

In August 2011, the Christian Post reported, “In 2008, Trumka donated $1.2 million to Democrats and $900,000 in 2010.”

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