One of America’s largest unions cautioned Democratic Party presidential candidates earlier this week not to take union support for granted in their campaign for the presidency.
Fox News reported that Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO union, met with contenders before the presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan to remind them that the union will be closely monitoring their platform positions on worker’s rights. Saying that the Republican Party is the party of corporate greed, he reiterated generally accepted union tropes that the Democratic Party is the party of the people.
“We are caught in a web of century-old labor laws that prioritize unchecked corporate greed over all else,” Trumpka reportedly said. “We can blame this White House all we want. But this isn’t new.”
But Trumka also made it clear that the candidates’ trend towards progressivism will not sit well with the unions’ 12.5 million members.
He warned that support, not only in the voting booth but in the form of donations and grassroots campaign support, could be jeopardized by overlooking the positive affect of collective bargaining agreements on the economy. The discussion then turned to trade and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP ) deal and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which the Democrats support, but the Union is against.
In March, the AFL-CIO wrote a letter to Democratic members of Congress expressing their concern about the Green New Deal and how it will affect their middle class, rank-and-file workers. As the proposal stands, the union made it clear that they see it as a threat to their members’ standard of living and do not support it.
The move away from traditional liberal values and towards radical progressivism by the Democratic Party could have the unintended consequences of diminished support from their historically strong alliance with American labor unions.
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