CHICAGO--As signaled for days, the AFL-CIO executive council meeting here, decided Wednesday morning to put off a Democratic primary endorsement, opening the door for its 55 union affiliates to make picks.In 2004, the labor federation held off its backing until John Kerry was the presumed nominee. All the Democratic candidates are labor friendly and back key union issues. But the decision will trigger a free-for-all push for endorsements from individual unions.
For the AFL-CIO statement, click below...
"Union members have told us all the candidates are impressive and
they are eager to support many of them."
AFL-CIO Top Leadership Chooses to Hold on Endorsement
Calls for Greatest Involvement Ever by Working Voters in the Crucial 2008 Elections
(Chicago, August 8) - - Following its Presidential Forum attended by 17,500 union members here last night, the AFL-CIO Executive Council today chose to hold off making an endorsement of a single candidate for President, instead calling for continuing "this education and mobilization process - - not only to hear from the candidates, but to ensure that the candidates hear from America's workers." In a released statement, the 47-member top leadership body left the door open for an endorsement at a later date and made clear that each of the AFL-CIO's 55 unions could make its own primary endorsement.
"It is clear that a number of the Democratic candidates have the experience and the credentials to lead our nation," wrote the Executive Council. "And it is equally clear that our members support a number of the candidates - - many union members have told us all the candidates are impressive and they are eager to support many of them."
"The issues affecting our nation's working families took front and center last night," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. "We will make absolutely sure that the spotlight remains on working people's concerns, like good jobs, affordable health care, and the freedom to join and form unions to improve their lives."
In 2004, the AFL-CIO made an endorsement for John Kerry in February.
The AFL-CIO's "Working Families Vote 2008" campaign is the broadest effort yet to involve working people in the selection of president. In addition to hosting last night's Presidential Forum, the 10-million member union federation held town hall forums with each candidate and union members over the last four months, and 20,000 people voted on the questions to be posed at last night's forum on the group's interactive website (www.workingfamiliesvote08.org).
Rather than endorsing at this time, the Executive Council pledged that unions "will focus on preparations for the greatest involvement ever by working voters in the crucial 2008 elections." In 2006, the AFL-CIO's massive union mobilization proved key to shifting the balance of power in Congress when it mobilized more than 13.6 million voters in 32 states. In recent national elections, one in four voters have been union household members.
For daily news, information and facts on this and other workers' issues, go to www.aflcio.org
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