The biggest prize in labor endorsements won’t be doled out this week as many people expected, according to an email from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
In his email, Trumka told members of the AFL-CIO executive council that the body won’t be holding a vote on whether to endorse Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders at its annual winter meeting in San Diego.
“Following recent discussion at the AFL-CIO’s Executive Committee meeting and subsequent conversations with many of you, I have concluded that there is broad consensus for the AFL-CIO to remain neutral in the presidential primaries for the time being and refrain from endorsing any candidate at this moment,” Trumka said.
The decision is a coup for Sanders’ backers within organized labor. Clinton has managed to lock down endorsements from unions representing a majority of unionized workers in this country. But the AFL-CIO endorsement is the most potent of all, and it won’t be given to either candidate – at least, not yet.
Under AFL-CIO procedures, an endorsement by the executive council needs to be ratified by leaders of the federation’s member unions.
RAISING WAGES AGENDA
Trumka said the AFL-CIO would continue its commitment to a Raising Wages agenda, “and to using that agenda to drive our politics.”
“From the very start of the presidential contest, we have been clear that we have an endorsement process in place, and that we will continue to follow that process in accordance with our Constitution,” Trumka said
“Most importantly, we will further elevate the Raising Wages agenda and hold all politicians accountable to it.
“We also continue to encourage affiliated unions to pursue their own deliberations with their members and come to their own endorsement decisions, if any, through open and rigorous debate. Many unions have endorsed a candidate, and many have not.
“Our country is engaged in a vigorous national debate about our next president, and we look forward to a robust discussion of the issues at our Council meeting.”