AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four Weeks

Holy crap. It isn't just the primary calendar that is becoming frontloaded:
According to AFL-CIO spokesperson Steve Smith, they are "working out details right now" for their WH '08 endorsement and are likely to announce their decision in early March, following their first Executive Council Meeting since the Nov. '06 elections in Las Vegas, NV, March 6th - 8th.

Each of the 54 national and international labor unions within the AFL-CIO has their own respective endorsement processes and must be considered in forming the general AFL-CIO endorsement. The AFL-CIO endorsed Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in Feb. '04, but Smith noted they "do not usually" make their endorsement decision as early as they plan to this cycle.
This strikes me as way, way too early to make an endorsement. There is simply no way that the membership, which should be what decides the endorsement, has formed solid opinions right now. Anyone who they endorse will have, at best, extremely soft support from the rank and file. I hope they go with "no endorsement."

Failing a "no endorsement," it seems to be pretty much a lock that the AFL-CIO would go with Clinton, Edwards or Obama, as unions rarely endorse long-shot candidates. In 2004, I am pretty sure Gephardt actually won what would now be the support of enough unions to get the endorsement of the current AFL-CIO, since most of Dean's support came from current Change To Win unions. When I was in Illinois that same year, Obama similarly had the support of the unions that eventually formed Change To Win, while state comptroller Dan Hynes was supported by most of the current AFL-CIO unions. That may just be anecdotal, but as such I imagine that Obama will have a better chance with Change To Win than he will with the AFL-CIO, which will probably go with Clinton, Edwards or "no endorsement."

Among other things, it will be very difficult for anyone to win Nevada if union support is consolidated behind a different candidate.

Update: In the comments, judith freeman points out that they might just be announcing a decision on theer endorsement process, rather than a decision on which candidate to actually endorse.

Tags: Democrats, Labor, President 2008 (all tags)

Comments

35 Comments

Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

wait chris... did you use to live in illinois? or were just there to visit. i am asking for a purely selfish reason, as i am trying to get a job with one of the seiu locals now... :)

by Legionnaire 2007-02-12 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W
I was there for about four months. Somewhere between visiting and living, I guess.
by Chris Bowers 2007-02-12 12:05PM | 0 recs
Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

Considering Clinton's history and current election machine, one might thing she's the only one could apply enough pressure to force AFL-CIO into an early endorsement.

It doesn't seem to make much sense this early.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-12 11:29AM | 0 recs
I tend to agree with you...

one would think only Clinton could strong arm this.. unless they are really bold and really want to help Edwards. Here's a search of the AFL-CIO's page for Edwards. Hillary shows up too. But unless my bias is so strong it's hard to imagine they would go with Hillary over Edwards on the merits.

Edwards, Miller Honored at AFL-CIO Organizing Summit
by James Parks, Dec 9, 2006

http://blog.aflcio.org/2006/12/09/edward s-miller-honored-at-afl-cio-organizing-s ummit/

Last night, the AFL-CIO Organizing Summit took a break from strategy sessions to honor two men who have been stalwarts in the fight for workers' rights: Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and former Sen. John Edwards. The two received the Paul Wellstone Award, named in honor of the late senator from Minnesota, which the AFL-CIO established to highlight elected leaders who take a strong stand for workers' freedom to form unions and who fight for social and economic justice.

or

Remarks by John J. Sweeney at UNC Law School Center for Poverty, Chapel Hill, NC
November 22, 2005

hank you, Arne [Kalleberg], and my thanks to Senator Edwards and to the Center for inviting me to participate in this forum. I'm delighted to be here speaking on behalf of the nearly 10 million workers represented by AFL-CIO unions and the more than 40 million people living in union households in our country.

http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm /sp12082006.cfm

Remarks by John J. Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, AFL-CIO Organizing Summit, Washington, D.C.
December 08, 2006

And I want to acknowledge the public figures and elected officials who are always with us. We thank God that Ted Kennedy, George Miller, David Bonior and John Edwards never saw a picket line they could pass up.

http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm /sp07092006.cfm

Remarks by John J. Sweeney, President of AFL-CIO, ACORN National Convention, Columbus, Ohio
July 09, 2006

That, brothers and sisters, means the United States of America is "United" in name only, and it is a national disgrace. What we now have are two Americas -- one rich and one poor, and our speaker after lunch, Senator John Edwards, will have more to say about this awful division and what it means to all of our families and to the strength and character of our country.

by TarHeel 2007-02-12 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: I tend to agree with you...

Biden has 100% rating with AFL-CIO as do Edwards and Obama. Clinton is 85%.

Hard to see why the AFL-CIO would even pick a primary candidate in this field.

My guess would be early endorsement of Clinton on triage basis...AFL-CIO feels shes the eventual winner with the best chance so get to it.

My better guess is no endorsement at all for primaries.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-12 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

I have to imagine that this would benefit Edwards.  Due to Obama's relationship with the Hamilton Project, I imagine he has a snowball's chance in hell of gaining the support of the manfacturing unions.

And I would be shocked if Clinton got the nod due to her previous relationship with Walmart.

I see this most likely to pay out for Edwards who's made a point of being the labor candidate.

The only thing that I could see fucking with that is if AFL-CIO/CTW hostility divides labor into two rival camps.  And on first examination, Edwards ties to the CTW unions are probably stronger than to than to the AFL-CIO.

Bonior, though a UAW (my union friends will understand the importance of that one) favorite, might still be able to wrangle the support of the AFL-CIO.

On the other hand, maybe this all is an elaborate ploy by the AFL-CIO, to ensure that the half of the Senate running for president knows to be there with the Employee Free Choice Act comes up for a vote.  

Both Senators Obama and Clinton are cosigners as are 44 of their Senate colleagues including Sen. Specter.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

The UAW is an AFL-CIO union so that connection to Bonior makes sense.

by the wanderer 2007-02-12 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

I thought that they were disafilliated at this point. I'm almost certain they were recently.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

Not as far as I know, and they're still listed here: http://www.afl-cio.org/aboutus/unions/

They were a CIO union of old and split in 1968 to try their own Change to Win style thing (the Alliance for Labor Action) that never really took off, and ended up reaffiliating.

by the wanderer 2007-02-12 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Early endorsement would likely be Clinton

At the state level, there was some weirdness with the UAW and AFL-CIO in the late 90's in Indiana.  Like the UAW and the AFL-CIO stopped partcipation in the CAP stuff.  

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:32PM | 0 recs
If it's Clinton

I'll buy everyone on this thead a new American-made car. It's either Edwards or no one.

by david mizner 2007-02-12 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: If it's Clinton

Thanks.

by robliberal 2007-02-12 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: If it's Clinton

I'd better jump onto this thread, too, then. :)

Seriously, one would think they wouldn't endorse Clinton, seeing how well NAFTA worked out for many union workers.

I know it was her husband, but she wants to take the good, so the bad comes with it.

by adigal 2007-02-12 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

as a member of 2 afl-cio unions, i have to factcheck this on 1 item: the consensus of member opinions has absolutely nothing to do with who gets the endorsement.  

by hoose 2007-02-12 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W
I know that. I just think it should.
by Chris Bowers 2007-02-12 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

Do you know if any of the candidates have recieved endorsements from locals in the early states (Iowa, NH, Nevada, etc)?

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W
None that I know of. As my tone implied in this post, I'd be stunned if anyone would have decided this early on.
by Chris Bowers 2007-02-12 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

It seems to me that making an endorsement this early is a good way to make yourself irrelevant.  I really don't understand what they hope to accomplish.

by Steve M 2007-02-12 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

My sense is that the only reason to endorse early is to jump in to help Edwards. They'll have no special influence with Clinton under any circumstances, while Edwards needs them now.

by blueflorida 2007-02-12 11:49AM | 0 recs
AFL-CIO vs. Change to Win

I think that Edwards is more of a lock with CtW than with the AFL-CIO. Where you see Edwards on the picket lines, it's often with SEIU and especially with UNITE-HERE, another CtW union.

by CT student 2007-02-12 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

If they endorse Clinton that will make it more difficult for Edwards since unions are one of his target groups. If AFL-CIO is going to endorse this early I wonder if various other groups will also join and make early endorsements.

by robliberal 2007-02-12 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement

Clinton doesn't have a record on labor issues to run on - much less get an early endorsement.

That anyone but Edwards would get labor backing is silly to me.  They're jumping in to give him a boost early.  Announcing it comes in four weeks does a couple of things:

1. It gets people talking about unions and labor issues - that's self-reinforcing feedback and attention that labor could use right now

  1. It makes clear that the AFL-CIO is in this to play
  2. It gives AFL-CIO plenty of time to leverage cash and bodies for Edwards, and to start organizing their members around a candidate's campaign instead of just "unnamed generic Democrat" for 2008

by Peter from WI 2007-02-12 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement

My impression is that labor wants to clear the field for Edwards.  I could easily see such an early endorsement preventing any more entries into the race, and causing several second tier candidates to drop out.

If the do this for Edwards, he owes his presidency to the kindness of labor.  And that creates a sense of obligation.  It's been a long time since a Democratic president knew that the organized labor put them in office.  I'm not really sure that there has ever been a case as blatant as this would be.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:06PM | 0 recs
Obligation?

Perhaps--it wouldn't be bad to have a president who felt he owed labor--but Edwards's support, unlike Gephart's, cuts across factions. After all, he did just win the Kos straw poll.

by david mizner 2007-02-12 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obligation?

I think the better word is coallition.  

Edwards is assembling a coallition that will live beyond his campaign whether he wins or not.

None of the other candidates are doing that.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:46PM | 0 recs
2003 labor endorsements

Dean's only CTW union endorsee (IIRC) was SEIU. His other early labor endorsees were AFSCME and IUPAT (Painters), who are both AFL-CIO unions.

Pretty much everyone else went to Gephardt, and the Firefighers to Kerry.

by the wanderer 2007-02-12 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: 2003 labor endorsements

Edwards won the support of UNITE-HERE if I'm not mistaken.  And they are now in the CTW federation.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: 2003 labor endorsements
UNITE-HERE didn't actually exist until about a month after Super Tuesday in 2004. UNITE and HERE merged in the Spring of 2004.
by Chris Bowers 2007-02-12 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: 2003 labor endorsements

Right.

It was just UNITE that endorsed in Edwards.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-02-12 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endorsement in Four W

This makes no sense to me, if Clinton has precipitatied this to shore up support it will possibly backfire if her polling softens in the next four weeks, which seems likely with Obama's flying start and current fling with the MSM.

Support for the EFCA seems assured along party lines.  I reckon this can only help Edwards' chances to get the endorsement.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-12 12:10PM | 0 recs
correction, was Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 Endor

It's actually the -process- for the endoresement that is going to be decided at the Exec Council meeting, not the endorsement itself.  It's getting it corrected with Hotline though.

by judithfreeman 2007-02-12 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: correction, was Re: AFL-CIO to Announce 2008 E

Here's the corrected Hotline piece that talks about it being the process, not the endorsement:

http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/a rchives/2007/02/endorsement_wat_1.html

by judithfreeman 2007-02-12 01:12PM | 0 recs
Trade

is the huge darkhorse issue in this race: It could win Edwards both the AFL-CIO and the Primary. With all the (proper) netroots focus on foreign affairs, we tend to forget that there's a large percentage of Democratic Primary voters for whom wages, fair trade and the like are the most important issues.

by david mizner 2007-02-12 12:27PM | 0 recs
Early '08

It is a bit early,I'm a union member in Chicago.I've been talking with a bunch of union bros. in the building trades.A majority of them are already pumped up which is fantastic this early.So far I can tell you, John Edwards is the heavy favorite in this area.

by puresmoke 2007-02-12 01:19PM | 0 recs
AFL-CIO NOT Announcing Support for Prez Candidate

HOTLINE made a mistake and the AFL-CIO is not endorsing a candidate for president in the next four weeks. I posted a diary here on the full HOTLINE correx, which is:

According to AFL-CIO spokesperson Steve Smith, they are "working out details right now" for their endorsement process for WH '08 and are likely to announce particulars of their plan in early March, following their first Executive Council Meeting since the Nov. '06 elections in Las Vegas, NV, March 6th - 8th.

Each of the 54 national and international labor unions within the AFL-CIO has their own respective endorsement processes and must be considered in forming the general AFL-CIO endorsement. [AMY DUDLEY].

by Tula Connell 2007-02-12 01:40PM | 0 recs

Diaries

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