Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president Thursday following a wave of support from some of the biggest labor unions in the country.
Perez is instrumental when it comes to labor reforms pursued under President Barack Obama. He also aligns heavily with policy that labor unions support. The president himself, however, has not put his support behind Clinton.
“Progressives believe in making progress, which is why I’m proud to endorse Hillary Clinton who I know will continue fighting to ensure our children and grandchildren can achieve their highest and best dreams,” Perez says in a statement obtained by The Washington Post. “Secretary Clinton is tough, smart, and understands better than any candidate the challenges that parents are talking about around dinner tables and keeping families up at night.”
Perez and Clinton aren’t in complete agreement of key labor issues. One of the biggest issues he and unions support that Clinton doesn’t is the $15 minimum wage. Perez used to align with the president in support of the $10.10. During an interview with The Huffington Post
“In the coming months, I look forward to hitting the campaign trail to highlight the progress we’ve made as a nation, the unfinished business, and why Hillary Clinton is the fighter we need leading that effort.”
The decision mirrors a trend among unions. Though the labor movement and Clinton disagree on several key policy areas, top unions are moving to back her. Early on in her campaign, though, Clinton struggled to gain union support. That was until Vice President Joe Biden announced Oct. 21 he will not be running for president. Since that time, she picked up significant momentum with the labor movement.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the International Longshoremen’s Association both decided to back Clinton not long after Biden’s decision. After that Clinton was able to snag support from the Service Employees International Union.
The recent wave of support wasn’t always the case. Clinton lost favor with many unionized workers for her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and her hesitance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, though, is much more adamantly opposed to the trade deal while making union issues a central focus on his campaign. Though he gained a lot of support with local unions, national leaders are concerned he is not electable.
Clinton did eventually come out against TPP after the deal was finalized. Clinton also secured support from The American Federation of Teachers back in July and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers back in August.
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