Hillary Finally Gains Some Traction With The Labor Movement

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Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton finally managed to gain some traction from organized labor Friday with an endorsement from the Machinists union.

Early on in her campaign, Hillary lost a lot of support among the labor movement, despite being the frontrunner for the Democratic party. Instead, her primary rival and self-described socialist Bernie Sanders has been able to step in as a more labor friendly candidate. Sanders has not faced the same tidal wave of criticism as Clinton, and citing that criticism, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has decided to support her run.

“The IAM will not sit on the sidelines while this fight is so clearly underway,” IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger said in a statement. “Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of this union for years and she is now the target of unprecedented attacks, financed on a scale never seen before. The time to help is when help is needed most, and we intend to do just that.”

Her reluctance to take a firm stance against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) put her in contention with unions. Organized labor has predictably worked to make the trade deal an important campaign issue.

Sanders, on the other hand, was much more adamant about his opposition. He has also made labor issues a primary focus of his campaign. In July, Sanders introduced a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and he is opposed to the sharing economy.

Despite the major setbacks, the IAM endorsement is big win for Hillary. The union is one of the largest in the country, with 600,000 members in aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, electronics and the federal sector. The decision came after a vote by its members.

“Our members understand what’s at stake in this election; the right to vote, the right to join a union and the right to retire with dignity,” Buffenbarger continued. “But it’s more than just civil rights and labor rights at risk.”

“The evaporation of economic opportunity is a rank obscenity compared to the alarming and growing concentration of wealth in America,” Buffenbarger also noted. “It’s time for an economy and a president who works for more than just the wealthiest among us.”

Fearing he is not electable, some major unions have been hesitant to officially endorse Sanders. The problem is one of the primary reasons Hillary is still in the running for vast union support. This, however, did stop The National Nurses United and former Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen from joining many local unions to endorse him.

The AFL-CIO hosted a meeting last month in Maryland as part of an ongoing effort by unions to determine which candidate to endorse. The union instead decided to delay endorsing anyone. Other labor groups are holding meetings or other initiatives to figure out  who to back.

Though not addressed by major unions, Hillary has also been in the spotlight over how she handled her emails while secretary of state. Her use of a private account and the deletion of data have made critics concerned she may have used her position of power for illegal purposes.

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