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. Union Label

    Most people who hate unions, aren't in a union. Though they wish to be. Secretly.

    June 24, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. RK

    Hey ny, you need to learn how to spell. If you want to call someone a liar, at least learn how to spell it right. It's not lier, it's liar. You're the one who is a liar, Obama does love America and Americans. You need to get a life. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Great endorsement. As a native Ohioian in the city which I grew up in everybody including my father were members of the AFLCIO.

    June 24, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |

    BARRACK 08

    June 24, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |

    I am glad to be white and a part of this exceptional phenomenon. We shall do it again in November. There shall be no rest for the wicked. To me Obama is the IDEAL. He represents BLACK and WHITE, and essentially everyone. There are people out there who feel that they have to HATE even though it is easy to LOVE, because everyone around them is hating. Folks, those who are Democrat, stay Democrat and support(not necessarily love) Obama. There is no shame in acting from your mind if you heart betrays you. Like I learnt recently, there is something called sub-concious racism.BEWARE!!! Be aware also that most people who comment negatively are actually REPUBLICAN pretending to be Hillary supporters. Its a sham!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Lynne

    WAY TO GO!!!!


    NO McCAIN!!!



    June 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. saga for Obama

    ny...what? really before you condem the man hear what he says..."the country i love" B. Obama

    June 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Can we just be American?

    This is awesome!

    Barrack 08

    June 24, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey I'm going to quit this union. Is it a thinking of us union or a union with only thinking of themselves.

    Obama is a serial quitter. He loves Jimmy Carter and would enact many of Jimmy's failed policies.

    He would be laughable during a world affairs crisis and would cause us many problems. See Jimmy Carter's 39th presidency to see what I'm talking about.

    How about those gauntlet gloves Obama wore fill a couple of sand bags. Nice girlie ones don' t you think?

    June 24, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Doris,Memphis,TN

    As our beloved Tim Russert would say "Go get them".
    And Go Bills!
    RIP Tim, we love you!

    June 24, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Enlightened Voter

    Because they know a smart, enlightened candidate when they see one who has proven sound judgment and who has managed his campaign brilliantly.
    Here's a question for all you mcwar supporters – it has been proven that terrorism has risen 400% (or more) since gwb took office. Question: what does that say for the republican foreign policy agenda and john mcwars'? And he is continuing the gwb foreign policy. Please answer that if you can. And answer how their so called experience has helped us? I'll take Obama's awesome, sound judgment any day over their so called experience.

    June 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Carly Fiorina for VP. America needs men not mice. McCain for President.

    June 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Darth Vadik, CA

    The best job I ever had was a union job.

    June 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Phyllis

    I, too, am waiting with excitement to have this very fine young man with fresh ideas and hope for this country to take the oath of office and so brilliantly step into the seat of the President of the United States.

    Those of you who seem to feel that there is nothing but an "empty suit" standing before you, take a good long look just to see that he WEARS IT WELL. It is time to acknowledge that, heaven forbid, a MAN OF COLOR is smarter than you and will bring the much needed change to this country that is long over due!!

    Look to Obama – a God Send – for true change and bask in his glow of leadership!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Hey all you Obama haters, and Hillary and McCain supporters. When you go to vote for McCain or write in Hillary's name. Be sure that the poll takers put a check beside your name and that way they will Know who to raise taxes on, whose children will go to the draft and who pays more at the pump and at the grocery store. That is the main reason, McCain wants fisa. Just so the government can check up on you.

    Go get UM! Obama

    Guess I will stay in moderation for this one, huh, CNN

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Geri

    Do you all realise Obama wasn"t their first choice???

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. TEXAN

    RIGHT ON !!! Thank you AFL CIO. Obama is the right man for President. Together we will get him elected. We ALL have a brighter future. to look forward to. THANKS AGAIN !!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. SANTE


    June 24, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. In California

    All of those saying Unions killled or caused the death of American Auto Industry need to wake up. GM refused to co-operate with Toyota for the research of Hybrid Technologies. Today they are closing plants not because of the Unions, but because they were stupid enough to think that the oil will always be $30/barrel. So lets get educated before posting stuff that has no merit. If Sen McCain can promise that oil drilled in American will not be sold on the International Market and will only be used in America, I will vote for him; but the truth is when that oil comes out of the ground (May be 10years) oil companies would be looking at India and China to see who can offer them a better price.

    June 24, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. No Comment from True Democrats

    No Comment!!!

    June 24, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. A democrat

    I'd rather the unions rather than big oil, big auto, etc

    June 24, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Belle1

    What Americans seem to forget. We are in TWO wars.

    We are winning in Iraq. The surge level will be gone by October. Further troop pull outs will occur because Iraq is taking control of its' own country.

    However, we are STILL in a war in Afghanistan. The death toll there is greater than Iraq. We have not defeated Osama Bin Ladin. Senator Obama's SubCommittee was in a position to actually do something about Afghanistan, but it did NOTHING for two years...why? The chairperson was too busy running for President!

    What on Earth makes you think he will do anything after he is President?

    No renegotiating NAFTA.
    No fixing the deficit.
    Manufacturing jobs will still leave the United States.

    June 24, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Raymond Duke

    I hope they get him more votes in the general then they did in the primarys. The unions are like the black vote in america . A small minority . It will be up to the majority of america to decide who will be the next president.The unions are a dying breed. See how much influence the teamisters had in Ohio, indianna and Pennsylvania..

    June 24, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. JD

    Thomas, see? he HAS done a lot for Illinois! Don't forget, paying more taxes is good for you, paying more for energy is good for you, paying more for food is good for you, quitting Iraq and letting it plunge into chaos is good for you, treating hate-filled terrorists like ordinary criminals is good for you. Now, don't you feel better?

    June 24, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  25. Kathy

    All these union and political endorsements get alot of read for Obama, but at the end of the day, it is the voter–behind closed curtains within the privacy of their own judgement that will make the decision as to the nest POTUS.
    I will share my decision, and I hope it is the same for the majority of others, and that is NO OBAMA!.
    I'd rather have 4 years of MCCain, that one day of OBAMA.
    To all you Obama supporters, I just can't believe you are buying of this. Your hopes and dreams do not lie with the election of Obama. He is a say anything politician who has somehow latched onto the weakness in so many, its scary, real scary. Think long and hard about your decision in Nov. Remember what our mothers always told us-if it sounds too good to be true...its probably not !

    June 24, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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