US: two major unions endorse Obama

By Jonathan Tasini

Two major unions–Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union– made national endorsements for Barack Obama. This is huge in many respects for Sen. Obama’s campaign.First, the two unions together account for more than 3 million members (SEIU has 1.9 million and UFCW has 1.3 million). That’s a lot of people to bring behind one candidate all at once.

Second, as of yet, the UFCW had not really waded into the political fight. In politics, generally, I would say that the union does not jump out front quickly–it is a bit more cautious (and I don’t mean that as a negative or positive–just fact). For the UFCW to decide to back Obama means that the leadership has either decided that Obama is likely to be the nominee or the leadership is hearing from a lot of its leaders that people in their locals are supporting Obama–or both.

Third, obviously, SEIU has huge influence throughout the country. So far, the union had left the endorsement decisions to its individual state councils. When John Edwards dropped out of the race, its big California state council shifted to Obama. The endorsement would not be a big surprise. My understanding, from talking to people over the past few months, was that the enthusiastic support really boiled down to a choice between Edwards and Obama.

Fourth, the Super Tuesday results showed the unions that there was not a lot of risk to endorse Obama because many of their members were voting for him as well.

Finally, this is not good news for the campaign of Sen Clinton. In the states she is counting on, these two unions have a lot of people who can get to voters, particularly in Ohio.

UFCW statement
The SEIU Picks Obama

2 Responses to “US: two major unions endorse Obama”

  1. 1 R. Doug Wicker February 15, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    And sixth: Perhaps people are finally taking a cold, hard look at the anti-labor practices of the Clintons over the years and realizing that four years of Hillary would be and anti-labor equivalent of four more years of George W. Bush.

    Clinton achievements: NAFTA, WTO, Most-favored trade nation status for China, the nullification of FEPCA and subsequent withholding of legislated pay increases to civil servants, Mrs. Clinton’s stint on the Wal*Mart board of directors, etc., etc., etc.

    But if you REALLY want to understand Mrs. Clinton’s true feelings on labor in general and federal labor in particular, one nees look no further than her treatment of White House Travel Office employees in the first weeks of her husband’s administration. THAT is more telling than a hundred speeches filled with worthless promises.

    Give me Barack Obama over that kind of treatment any time.

  1. 1 Labor Notes Februar 2008 « Entdinglichung Trackback on February 22, 2008 at 9:56 am

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