Elections

Major Union Withdraws Bernie Endorsement To Back Clinton

REUTERS/Jim Young

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The largest labor union to back Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders withdrew its original endorsement Monday, and officially backed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) became the largest union Dec. 17 to endorse Sanders for president. The union at the time praised Sanders for his stance against wealthly special interests. Clinton has virtually secured the nomination prompting the union to reconsider its original endorsement.

“Hillary Clinton has stood with CWA members and pledges her commitment to making life better for working families,” CWA said in a statement. “She’s walked with us on the Verizon picket line. She supports the call to get big money out of politics. She is committed to ending special treatment for Wall Street and the 1 percent. She wants to help students end the cycle of education debt.”

The labor movement seemed split between how electable Clinton is and Sanders being more aligned with union policies. National unions leaders have since called for the labor movement to unite behind Clinton now that she has practically secured the nomination. Clinton, in the minds of many union leaders, is far better than Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump is reckless, unthinking and much more likely to cut a deal with his billionaire colleagues than look out for working families,” CWA continued. “In a Donald Trump administration, we’d be watching our backs for four years. We’d have no opportunity to move forward on real gains for working families, instead, we’d be forced on defense, just to defend the jobs and gains.”

Former CWA President Larry Cohen was even among the first national union leaders July 2015 to endorse Sanders. He has since led the coalition Labor for Bernie which consists mostly of local unions. National Nurses United was among a few national unions to also join the coalition.

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 have denounced as a harmful giveaway to corporations. Trump has even tried to garner support among union members by opposing the trade deal.

Clinton in contrasts was hesitant to oppose TPP and has been unclear about her stance on the minimum wage. She originally said the federal minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour but supported states which choose to go higher. Clinton then said during the Democratic debate Apr. 14 that she meant the $12 mark was meant to as a step towards eventually reaching $15 an hour.

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