Presumed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton hired two new staffers with close ties to big labor in an attempt to impress hesitant union members, according to reports Tuesday.
Clinton has won vast support among national unions, but her appeal among membership is less than clear. Lori D’Orazio and Michele Gilliam joined the campaign as deputy labor campaign directors in an apparent appeal to union membership, reports Reuters. D’Orazio worked at the AFL-CIO, while Gilliam worked on the campaign for Clinton’s primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton’s relationship with the labor movement has been uneasy throughout the election. National unions were slow to endorse her while many local chapters gravitated toward Sanders. The labor movement seemed split over how electable Clinton appeared and viewing Sanders as more aligned with union policies.
Some unions appeared to wait and see if Vice President Joe Biden would join the race. Biden eventually announced Oct. 21 he would not seek the presidency, resulting in a flood of national unions backing Clinton. The AFL-CIO made its endorsement June 16 for Clinton roughly a week after she secured the nomination over Sanders.
Sanders has done a lot to advance union causes. He introduced a bill in July designed to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and has opposed the the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which union leaders denounced as a harmful giveaway to corporations. Presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump has even tried to garner support among union members by opposing the trade deal.
Clinton, meanwhile, was hesitant to oppose TPP and is unclear about her stance on the minimum wage. She originally said the federal minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour but supported states that choose to go higher. Clinton then said during the Democratic debate Apr. 14 that she meant the $12 mark as a step towards eventually reaching $15 an hour.
Union leadership has noted concern their membership could end up supporting Trump over Clinton. The AFL-CIO has already utilized its substantial political influence and resources to oppose the Republican nominee, mobilizing members and supporters on the grassroots level throughout the election.
The Clinton, Sanders and Trump campaigns did not respond to requests for comments by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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