Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the endorsement Thursday of the largest associations of labor unions in the country.
The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of associated unions in the country at 12 million members. It has remained one of the few major unions to not endorse anyone for president despite its vast political influence. The AFL-CIO made its endorsement roughly a week after Clinton secured the nomination over her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Hillary Clinton is a proven leader who shares our values,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the issues that matter to working people, and our members have taken notice. The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton.”
The AFL-CIO delayed its endorsement longer than most unions, but wasn’t the only one to wait. The labor movement seemed split between how electable Clinton is and Sanders being more aligned with union policies. Sanders has been at the forefront of pushing for a national $15 minimum wage, while Clinton was slow to support the idea.
“Senator Bernie Sanders has brought an important voice to this election, and has elevated critical issues and strengthened the foundation of our movement,” Trumka went onto say. “His impact on American politics cannot be overstated.”
Some unions even seemed to be waiting to see is Vice President Joe Biden would join the race. Biden eventually announced Oct. 21he would not be seeking the presidency, resulting in a flood of national unions moving to back Clinton. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) endorsed Clinton within three days of Biden declaring he would not run.
“We will run a sophisticated, targeted ground campaign,” Trumka added. “And with the dire consequences Donald Trump poses for America’s working families, it has to be.”
The AFL-CIO has already been utilizing its substantial political influence and resources to oppose Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. It has been mobilizing members and supporters on the grassroots level throughout the election. The union also launched the For Our Future political action fund May 12 with environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer to attack the Republican nominee.
Several trade unions promptly wrote a letter arguing many of the environmentalist policies Steyer supports kill good blue collar jobs. Previously the AFL-CIO declared Trump its loser of the week Feb. 22 over a labor dispute his Las Vegas hotel is having, and again Feb. 29 for saying he likes right-to-work.
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