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Sweet blog special: AFL-CIO as expected likes all Dems; holds endorsment. Scramble for individual union nods

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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.

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4 Comments

All the Democratic candidates are labor friendly and back key union issues.

That should read that all Democratic candidates are friendly toward organized labor. For the 90% of American laborers who don't belong to a union, the policies of Big Labor (protectionism that'll drive up prices, for example) may not be all that congenial.

I am a member of a large International union that just withdrew from the AFL-CIO. There is a reason that we did. That org. did not represent us as it should have and it was no longer as effective as it once was. As I have stated before, the candidates did nothing but hurl feel good messages to the proletariat masses in the audience. Hillary, Biden, and Richarson, despite their comments in the debate, truly no that their is very little that they are going to do to change the status quo. For every union member that the camera showed in the audience (many were union leadership officials), there is another that wasn't there that knows that the Democratic party doesn't no how to level the playing field for organized labor or any labor for that matter. A union's endorsement of a candidate means that the union leadership has decided to back the candidate, not a plurality of the rank and file. The Democrats have always blocked every bill that the Reps. have tried to pass preventing Union's leadership from offering money to candidates without the approval of each member. In other words, if I don't want that portion of my dues going to a candidate's election fund, I should have the right to say no. You see, nothing is ever what it appears to be.

Hey Lynn, I guess Guttierrez is trying to find away out of his "so-called retirement"! Another Looie double cross? Where's Maldonado's and Flores names? Munoz signed on? HMMMM,interesting letter and I wonder, what the future holds for Maldonado and Flores?

AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESSMAN LUIS GUTIERREZ

Dear Congressman Gutierrez, (Luis)

We’ll get to the point quickly – please don’t retire from Congress just yet, there’s work still to do.

Retirement can’t be easy and we know this probably won’t make it any easier, but then again easy has never been your style. You’re a fighter, Luis, it’s what you’ve done, it’s who you are. Whether it was standing with the late Mayor Harold Washington to help bring Chicago out of the stalemate of the Council Wars, or fighting to naturalize hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, or standing up for the people of Vieques you’re a fighter. And today, the people you fight for, those who often can’t make their voices heard on their own,
need you to stay in the fight and bring home a victory -- and bring home the hope of the American Dream.

As you’ve learned while in the struggle to help pass comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, this isn’t just about Illinois’ 4th Congressional District. In fact, any and all of the leaders who have expressed interest in succeeding you in Congress would represent your district well. But the work that lies ahead requires your brand of leadership and passion.

The people of our great country need you to fight for them; the people of the 4th Congressional District need you to fight for them, here at home, in the halls of Congress and in communities across the country.

And since fights like these are never fought alone,
we’re here to lend our voice, our help and our support. But we need you to stay. We need you to fight. We need you, Luis, in Congress.

Respectfully,

The Honorable Commissioner Joe Berrios, 31st Ward Democratic Organization
The Honorable State Representative Maria Antonia 'Toni' Berrios
The Honorable State Representative Dan Burke, 23rd District
The Honorable Alderman Edward Burke, 14th Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable
Alderman Tony Figueroa, Waukegan City Council
The Honorable Alderman Billy Ocasio, 26th Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable Alderman Richard Mell, 32nd Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable Alderman Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable Alderman Ariel Reboyras, 30th Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable Alderman Danny Solis, 25th Ward – City of Chicago
The Honorable Alderman Ray Suarez,
31st Ward – City of Chicago
Elvira Arrellano, President – Familia Latina Unida
Freddy Calixto, Executive Director - BUILD
Ruben Castellan, Executive Director – Gads Hill Center
Omar Duque, President & CEO – Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Judy Fried, Executive Director – NICASA
Empe Guerra, Program Director – NICASA
Rory Guerra, Director – The Saints of Humboldt
Park
Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director – Illinois Coalition of Immigrant & Refugee Rights
Marco Jacome, Executive Director – HAS
Emma Lozano, President – Pueblo Sin Fronteras
Eliud Medina, Executive Director – Near Northwest Neighborhood Network
Stewart Munoz, President – Cuban American Chamber of Commerce
Maria Ploch, Executive Director – Latinos En Accion
Anita Rico, Director – Zocalo Urbano
Juan Salgado, Executive Director – Instituto del Progreso Latino
Mary Santana, Executive Director – The Miracle Center
Gina Zuniga-Baldwin, Executive Director – Youth Service Project

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Jasculca/Terman is the PR firm that was hired by the AFL-CIO to produce the Democratic candidate’s forum at Soldier Field. Jasculca/Terman has a very diverse list of clients.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 8, 2007 1:42 PM.

Sweet Dem AFL-CIO forum special. The complete transcript. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: At AFL-CIO forum, Obama leans on Washington insiders, anti-Iraq war record. is the next entry in this blog.

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