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Sweet's Obamaville. Hectic Dem Monday. Obama skips Chicago Laborers forum. Clinton delivers health plan. Obama econ speech.

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WASHINGTON -- Organized labor is enormously influential in the Democratic primary -- an endorsement means volunteers, money and votes -- and the 2008 presidential candidates are wooing the major labor federations and member unions.

In the past months, the major Democratic campaigns have sent emissaries to Washington to meet and brief union leaders and their political teams. In the next week, three labor presidential forums -- two in Chicago -- will feature White House candidates.

• • Today and Tuesday, LIUNA (Laborers' International Union of North America) hosts a leadership conference at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) speak today in separate appearances. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pitches Tuesday. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) decided to skip the forum.

WASHINGTON -- Organized labor is enormously influential in the Democratic primary -- an endorsement means volunteers, money and votes -- and the 2008 presidential candidates are wooing the major labor federations and member unions.
In the past months, the major Democratic campaigns have sent emissaries to Washington to meet and brief union leaders and their political teams. In the next week, three labor presidential forums -- two in Chicago -- will feature White House candidates.

• • Today and Tuesday, LIUNA (Laborers' International Union of North America) hosts a leadership conference at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) speak today in separate appearances. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pitches Tuesday. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) decided to skip the forum.

The union -- with a growing membership -- represents construction workers, mail handlers and workers in dozens of other industries. "We are not in a hurry to make an endorsement," LIUNA Terence O'Sullivan told me. "We want to make sure our endorsement is driven by the members of our union."

• • Today in Washington, the Service Employees International Union political action conference hosts all the top contenders, triggering a bit of schedule jockeying. Before heading to Washington, Obama has an economics speech he's giving at NASDAQ in New York. Clinton flies from the Chicago LIUNA session to Iowa to unveil her universal health care coverage plan in Des Moines and then jets to Washington for the SEIU.

• • Back in Chicago at the Chicago Hilton on Sept. 25, Clinton, Obama and Edwards have committed to speak at Change to Win's 2nd Biennial Convention. Change to Win is a labor federation representing 6 million workers and half of all union members in the country. At the meeting, Change to Win unions will be discussing whether or not to endorse in the primary. In August, the AFL-CIO executive council, another labor federation, decided to put off a Democratic primary endorsement.

In recent weeks, individual unions have started to endorse. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is backed by the International Association of Fire Fighters. Edwards is supported by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners; United Steelworkers; United Mine Workers, and Transport Workers unions. Clinton has the United Transportation Union; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; National Association of Letter Carriers, and the Transportation Communications Union

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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 September 17, 2007 9:00 AM.

Sweet blog special: Dem presidential rivals woo LIUNA, Change to Win, SEIU. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog extra: Obama's econ proposals. Speech transcript. is the next entry in this blog.

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