June 24th, 2008
02:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Largest labor organization poised to endorse Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN)—The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization, is poised to throw its support behind Sen. Barack Obama and launch a broad grassroots mobilization effort in support of the Democratic presidential nominee.

Obama’s name is the only one on the ballots which were faxed out Tuesday. The Illinois senator must receive two-thirds of the labor organizations total membership of 10.5 million union workers by the pre-set deadline, Thursday morning.

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s suspension of her presidential bid helped to essentially secure the endorsement for Obama.

According to spokesman Steve Smith, the labor organization stayed neutral during the primary season because a two-thirds majority would have been difficult to attain for any of the candidates given the fact that a number of the unions individually endorsed Obama, Clinton and John Edwards, with one supporting Sen. Chris Dodd.

“Once [Clinton] dropped out it was just a matter of process and getting the votes scheduled to decide on an endorsement,” Smith told CNN, adding that a “very positive” feeling came out of Obama’s meeting last week with all of the union presidents at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington.

“Everyone coming out of that meeting felt very confident and positive about the direction [the AFL-CIO was] headed…and about running a strong and unified labor program,” Smith said.

The group has been running a campaign against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain since early march, aimed at defining the Arizona senator’s stances on jobs, trade and health care among union members.

The endorsement could help Obama in the critical swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota where union voters make up between 25 and 35 percent of the total vote and particularly among working blue-collar voters which Obama has struggled to gain support from so far.

With an outreach of more than 13 million registered voters in 23 ‘top-tier’ states, the AFL-CIO is budgeted to spend $53.4 million via mailers, phone calls, door to door and work site visits and has not yet ruled out television advertisements. Collectively, the 56 unions expect to spend $200 million in the 2008 election between, Presidential, Senate and House races nationwide.

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. wwood in VA

    Grampy Mcsame and the republicans do not like unions. Every large company that I worked for always discouraged unions. Why do you think that is?

    June 24, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Pete

    This is a huge victory. Expected? Yes, but still huge. Sen. Obama's policies are definitely aimed at giving aid to those who are part of these unions. Good for them!

    June 24, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Dems be dopes

    To all you union members that lost jobs...

    Who signed NAFTA?

    June 24, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Kenneth

    Get real

    Unless you are rich any working benfits you got came yuo got because of the union.

    June 24, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Down with Obama

    Unions aren't what they were when they were created. Now they are just like Obama....Money in their pockets (leaders) is all they are interested in...they don't care about the people anymore.

    June 24, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    This will certainly help Senator Obama in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan.
    This can't help Senator McCain in those states and further puts his camp in negative attack mode. Which in turn goes directly towards what Obama said a couple of weeks ago when he said "they'll try to make us out to be scary."

    June 24, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. If not Hillary....then McCain

    His name is the only one on the ballot?

    Hummmmmm, sounds like Chicago Politics at it's best.

    He must feel right at home with only his name on the ballot.

    Perhaps, some of these endorsements should wait until after the convention. Last I checked, his official title is....

    June 24, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Dems be dopes

    While I'm at it.......

    The first change we were told to expect was when the Dems took over Congress in 2006.

    We saw change!

    Unemployment is up, gas prices are up, food prices are up, jobs are scarce.

    What went down?

    Congressional approval rating......now at 12%, 10 points lower than Pres Bush approval rating.

    I just can't wait to see what happens if we elect this empty suit with no experience and the Dems control everything.

    But we will feel good about ourselves.

    June 24, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. DM, Arlington TX

    We need everyone everywhere to help us put new leadership in the white house. President bush has ran the country like Senator Clinton ran her Presidential bid.. In major debt.....

    June 24, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Blue Collar in Ohio

    The country was built on the backs of unionized workers. They are the home-grown, gritty, patriotic counterpart to our American soliders. They fought and even died for fair wages, safe conditions, and humane hours. Period. Before you start spouting off Republican big business talking points, do your homework. And we will be out in force for Obama, keeping that great American engine humming.

    Obama '08

    June 24, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. STOP the MADNESS!!!!

    JDC // Ohio So what? Labor unions are so unimportant these days!......and so are YOU !!!!!!
    oil rules .... The labor organizations should be disbanded. Look at how their policies have helped lead to 4 major GM plant closures recently. Union help ya there, friend? Unions were obviously an important factor in fair labor practices at one time. Now the union bosses are just in for themselves, their power, and YOUR money. They registered as a 527 yet??you are DISBANNED!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. ladymary

    BARACK...............Watch your back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. SaneTexan

    RE: JD, get your facts straight. It's the Republicans who won't crack down on the employers who hire illegal immigrants. That is the real fix to the problem. You know their motto...big business rules!
    The Dems need to come back to the working blue collar Americans and quit taking sides with the minorities just for a vote. It hasn't worked out so well for them in the last 40 years. Then they shove Obama down our throats...I've had it with both Parties. No Obama, No McCain.

    June 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. nate

    We are coming and we cannot be stopped. Its OUR America now. Obama 08.

    June 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Charlie, Odenton, MD

    You are all HILARIOUS!!!! Hello they will back the Democrat this year. They have already come out and said it. Of course Obama is getting their vote, because he's the only Democrat on the ticket . . . . wake up people. PRESIDENT OBAMA . . . .HAHAHAHAH

    June 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Truth B Told

    Yeah they may not all vote for OBAMA but if they know whats good for their UNION they will!!!! Oh Yeah.... Some is better than NONE

    Obama 08

    June 24, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. M.S. Indiana

    JD, oh wait a second, was it not McCain trying to do a immigration bill together with Ted Kennedy ?? considering alot more republicans have companies, they are the ones benefiting from it.. low pay, no human right, slavery, no tax to pay...

    Where the democrats wanna make them a part of usa, so they can pay tax, help with their children's education..

    June 24, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. serggio in EU

    Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain
    June 24th, 2008 3:58 pm ET

    "What accomplishments does Obama have on his resume that benefitted organized labor."

    Another republican trying to divide democrats!! We know the game
    Obama has done a lot in his home state,

    June 24, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Sandy Schwartz

    I do believe that honesty, intelligence, ambition, generosity, loyalty, and comjmitment always prevails. Great job Barack Obama! We, the American people are extremely proud of your professionalism and love for this great country and ALL the people in it. We will fight honestly, professionally and respectfully along with you on your journey to being the next President of the United States of Amercia!

    It's time we Rock with BARACK!!!

    June 24, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Lucas, Nashville TN


    Industry? Is that the word you left out?

    No no no... the American auto industry SUCKING is what killed it. Not the unions. If it were not for them, it would have folded up a long time ago.

    June 24, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Sharon Minnesota

    No surprise here. The Union Bosses always support the democratic candidate. If not, they get busted and are out of a job by the bigger and badly corrupted organization bosses.

    As an ex-democrat, I am a believer in unions when they are fair and helpful but not in Barack Obama or a DNC that's lost it's sense of democratic fairness.

    I hope when it comes to individual choice in November the members will pay attention to ALL the other issues at stake and make their choice for John McCain a centrist Republican who cares for all people, not just left or right radicals.

    June 24, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Franck in Canada

    No!!! Thmas,
    On the contrary, It really sucks to be you "buddy".

    The fact that you don't like OBAMA 08 and knowing fully well there ain't nothing you can do about his support. Come on, you're smarter thatn that, don't let your little feelings get in the way of what you really know to be the truth.

    OBAMA 08!

    June 24, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. George

    Like this is news........ Did we think they would endorse Bob Barr????? CNN must have needed filler.

    June 24, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. John in Ohio

    I'll never figure out how winning more delegates and more of the legitimate popular vote and more states and more superdelegates = Obama cheated and was handed the election by the DNC.

    And for all the people who keep telling Hillary to run as an independent, with what money? She couldn't run as a Democrat in the primary without loaning herself millions and still winding up deep in the red. Where would she get the means to run as an independent? And even if she could, would you want somebody that bad with management in charge of the country? She couldn't run a campaign, what makes you think she'll run the country well?

    Fuss and pout if you want to. Obama wins anyway.

    June 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Steve

    Hey, ny: stupid comments like yours only show ignorance, bias and racism. Why can't you focus on issues rather than nonsense. If that's all you have to offer than it is clear to me that Senator Obama will be our next President. Show some respect. As much as I disagree with our current President I have never gotten into that kind of name calling. You need to grow up and get real.

    June 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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