Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton snagged a bigunion endorsement Friday, less than a week after Vice President JoeBiden announced he would not run.
The endorsement is a big victory for Hillary who has struggledto gain traction with the labor movement. The American Federationof State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) notes it made the endorsement after receiving monthsof feedback from union members. Despite strong union support, Bidenannounced Oct. 21 he would not be running for president.
â€œThe next president will make decisions thatcould make or break the ability of working people across America tosustain their families,”Â AFSCME President LeeSaunders said in a statement.“Thatâ€™s why we spent the last six monthsengaged in the most member-focused, in-depth, and transparentendorsement process AFSCME has ever undertaken.”
AFSCME is the largest trade union of public employees in thecountry. At first it was among several national unionswhoÂ all decided to hold off their endorsement. Theother unions include the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, the Service EmployeesInternational Union (SEIU). The decision to delay theirendorsements is believed to have been the result ofÂ lingeringissues union leaders had with Hillary.
â€œWhat we heard throughout our endorsementprocess is that AFSCME members want a candidate who is committed tofixing our out-of-balance economy,”Â Saunderscontinued. “And raising incomes for hardworking people whoare still struggling to make ends meet.”
Hillary and unions have long been at odds over her hesitance tooppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). She did eventually comeout against it after the international trade deal was finalized.Her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline has alsoupset union members and leaders who look at the project as a goodsource of jobs.has almost universallyÂ noted concernwith Bernie’s electability strong support among
â€œWhat we also heard was AFSCME members wantthe candidate who will be the most effective champion for workingfamilies, and who will be able to deliver a victory in thiscritically important election,”Â Saundersconcluded. “AFSCME members believe that candidate is HillaryClinton.â€
Hillary has secured some union support, despite herstruggles.Â The American Federation of Teachers back in Julyendorse her, as well as the International Association of Machinistsand Aerospace Workers back in August.
Nevertheless, a coalition ofÂ mostly local unionsknown as Labor for Bernie has held rallies across the country in support forthe Vermont democratic socialist. The group and AFSCME members eventried to start a petition to get leadership to abstainfrom endorsementÂ just hours before itÂ wasannounced.
Former Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohenis helping to lead the group. Cohen, a long time and influentialunion leader, announced his support for Sanders in July. Though many local unions werealready backing him, Cohen became the first major national leaderto do so.