State and local AFL-CIO leaders are feeling pressure from their national president, Richard Trumka, to not endorse Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Politico reports a memo from Trumka was distributed this week to numerous local and state divisions of the labor federation reminding its members that the organization’s bylaws bar them from endorsing “a presidential candidate” or “introduce, consider, debate, or pass resolutions or statements that indicate a preference for one candidate over another.” The memo goes further saying that even “‘personal’ statements” of candidate preference are forbidden.
It appears the labor organization lost control of some of its state organizations already, as the memo comes on the heels of the South Carolina and Vermont AFL-CIOs passing resolutions supporting Sen. Sanders. Iowa labor members are also prepping a resolution as well, Politico notes.
State AFL-CIO leaders are aware of the rules but were upset that their national president publicly called them out and many members are still looking towards Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders as White House potentials.
“I was disappointed by it,” said UPTE-CWA Local 9119 organizing coordinator Lisa Kermish, of Berkeley, California, told Politico. “I think that local unions and national unions, while it’s important to work together for strength, I think that this is in some ways truncating dialogue. And I find that very unfortunate.”
The self-identified democratic-socialist senator from Vermont is surging in the polls in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire and already raised $15 million from 250,000 donors since joining the race in April. Mitt Romney took in $18.4 million during his first three months of the 2012 campaign, the Associated Press points out. However, President Barack Obama managed to raise $25.8 million three months after entering the race in 2007.
In the meantime, Sanders is enjoying his boon, which likely contributed to the 10,000 people who came to see the 73-year old speak in Madison, Wis. on Wednesday night.