Hillary Clinton Wins Biggest Labor Union Endorsement

AFL-CIO pledges to get out the union vote for the Democratic nominee.

Mike Blake/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

As Hillary Clinton racked up labor endorsements over the course of the Democratic primary contest, the biggest labor federation in the country was conspicuously absent from her list of backers, having decided to remain neutral throughout the Democratic primary even as its member organizations largely flocked to the front-runner. But on Thursday, with the final votes in the Democratic primary contest now cast, the AFL-CIO’s board voted to endorse Clinton, in an effort that could help unite the party’s factions and try to win over disaffected blue-collar voters who might be attracted to Donald Trump’s protectionist message.

“The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement, “and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton and move America forward.”

It’s not surprising to see the 12.5 million-member labor federation, which has backed every Democratic candidate for president since it sat out the 1972 contest, throw its weight behind the presumptive Democratic nominee. As Politico‘s Brian Mahoney noted ahead of the vote, 80 percent of the people sitting on the AFL-CIO’s executive board, which voted on the endorsement, hailed from unions that had already thrown their support to Clinton.

Trumka gave a slight nod to Bernie Sanders in offering the endorsement, saying that his “impact on American politics cannot be overstated.”

The AFL-CIO promised to turn on its political machine immediately to start boosting Clinton. “This election offers a stark choice between an unstoppable champion for working families and an unstable charlatan who made his fortune scamming them,” Lee Saunders, the AFSCME president and chair of the AFL-CIO’s political committee, said. Though there’s been some speculation that Trump’s appeals to white working-class men might allow the Republican to attract a larger swath of union voters in states like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, so far the national organizations haven’t shown any sign of breaking away from the Democratic candidate.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend