Elections

Largest Farm Workers Union Endorses Clinton

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The largest union of farm workers in the country announced Thursday its endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The United Farm Workers (UFW) made its endorsement after a nearly yearlong internal process. The endorsement is the latest in a surge of union support choosing the Clinton camp over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said he believes Clinton is the type of strong and respectful leader the country needs.

“Hillary Clinton has consistently stood with farm workers and immigrants, fought on behalf of and voted for comprehensive immigration reform,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The consistent respect Hillary Clinton has shown farm workers over her career, her willingness to answer tough questions, her commitment and work to end prejudice and her determination in the pursuit of progressive change.”

Local representatives elected from each company the union represents debated who to endorse. Union leadership also had the chance to meet Clinton in a private meeting. They examined each campaign and the careers of the major candidates before making their decision. UFW is the largest union for farm workers making its endorsement a huge win for Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton has the strong resolve needed to make change happen,” Rodriguez continued. “She is the most experienced candidate for president in recent memory. And she is the best equipped to defeat the nativist, hateful forces of the current Republican front-runner.”

Sanders seemed destined to win over the labor movement with his early support among local unions. At the same time, Clinton struggled to gain traction with unionized workers over her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and her hesitance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The tables turned when it came time for national unions to make their endorsements.

Labor unions in general tend to hold a lot of political influence and can be a huge boost to campaigns. They seemed to struggle to decide who to pick with several delaying their endorsements at first. Some unions appeared to be waiting to see if Vice President Joe Biden would enter the race.

Biden announced Oct. 21 that he would not be seeking the presidency resulting in a flood of national unions moving to back Clinton. She expressed her appreciation for the support in a recent campaign video.

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 among other large unions.

Nevertheless Sanders has still done well among the labor movement. He snagged 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. Cohen is now leading the coalition Labor for Bernie which consists mostly of local unions that support Sanders.

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