June 24th, 2008
02:49 PM ET
6 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. Tony, Miami

    Stop whining. Obama's name was the only valuable name on the ballots.

    June 24, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. RAY AVARE

    SUCH IGNORANCE PREVAILS! SO OBAMA IS GOING TO BE OUR SAVIOR AND CURE ALL ILLS! HOW DO WE KNOW? BECAUSE HE SAID SO! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME OF THAT MAGIC POTION, SO I CAN BELIEVE THE MYSTERY MANS WORDS TOO!
    NO BIG PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS, NO EXECUTIVE OR WAR EXPERIENCE, SKIPPED SENATE VOTING TO AVOID CHALLENGE
    OR JUST DIDN'T KNOW HOW! NO, INDEPENDANT THOUGHT PROCESS, HAS TO COPY THE GREAT MINDS KENNEDY, MARTIN KING, REAGON ETC,. NO DISCRETION, CHOOSES UNPATRIO-TIC ENEMIES OF AMERICA TO HAVE CLOSE TIES WITH! NO JUDGMENT WHILE SUPPORTING AN ANTI-WHITE PREACHER WITH A RACIST BASHING, SHOUTING HOSTILE CHURCH CROWD! DOESN'T MEAN WHAT HE SAYS, FOR INSTANCE HIS
    FLIP FLOP ON THE CAMPAIGN FUNDING, I COULD GO ON AND ON BUT THE BEGUILED OBAMA WORSHIPERS SEE AND HEAR NO EVIL REGARDING THEIR BELOVED STRAWMAN. HE CAN DO NO WRONG AND IF HE DOES SO WHAT! GOD HELP AMERICA,
    POLITICS AS USUAL! DEMOCRAT NO MORE

    June 24, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Rave

    Barack you Rock
    McCain you should Drain
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    June 24, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. MichaelRayThompson

    Congradulation! Organized labor. You typically support the most liberal, out-of-step candidate. Barak Obama is that type of candidate. America's whites don't want him. America's conservatives really don't want him. But liberal America is in love with him. He'll do more to damage the relationship of America's whites and blacks than any other candidate in the history of our nation.

    June 24, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Barack Uda

    GoBama, ProBama, FoBama, MoBama!!!

    June 24, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. Wayne

    Hey Union Member Thomas. You complain about your union but I bet you are more than willing to take the salary and benefits they get for you. I used to be a union president in my younger days and there were a number of complainers like you who slammed unions and bemoaned their dues but more than willingly took anything they could that the union bargained for them and often complained that it wasn't enough. If you don't like what you union does then run for office in it...oh wait, people like you just complain, they never want to participate or put in any off work time.

    And this like all the other comments I have made on CNN comment pages won't likely be posted either.

    June 24, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Deb,KS

    Looks like there are a lot of stupid union organizations out there. I would never endorse Hession Obama.
    I agree with RAY AVARE.
    Obama is the most scariest polictian to ever run for office. WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE ITS TOO LATE. WHY CAN'T YOU SEE HIM FOR WHAT HE IS.

    GOD HELP US ALL.

    June 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. real dem

    So Ray Avare who do you suggest we vote for? Hillary isn't running ( would be stupid to do a write in!! And McCain is a split image of bush so who else is there to vote for? Nader? LOL... Come on Genius answer for the people.
    1. Hillary ( not running )
    2. McBush ( Another bush most likely and I mean most likely, and you
    can't separate the two no mater how you see it. )
    3. Nader ( hmm 0.05 percent of the vote?)
    4. Or O'bama?

    June 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. Justice League

    Kathy, I'd rather have 8 years of Obama than one minute with you, and people like you. Stay out of our way, we're coming through! Obama '08!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. real dem

    Hmm lets all put this in order.

    1. Democrat for Hillary or McCain ( are you serious or racist?)
    2. O'bama has no experience.( Hmm you voted for bush who had
    experience and screwed up everything so what's with the experience
    thing again?)
    3. O'Bama stole the election...(get serious...all those voters? black, white,
    hispanic, asian, etc etc. Who held a gun to there heads?)
    4. O'Bama is a liar? (Umm Mr...Mrs..G bush voter seems you was
    mistaken about Bush (real liar) as you are about O'Bama (not a liar)
    5. If you feel Hillary was cheated or if you feel O'bama is inexperienced
    then don't vote...I just hoped you enjoyed paying more for gas,
    paying more to send your kids to school, helping to save your
    relatives from losing there homes maybe yours too and most of all
    having your 401k or mutual fund stolen or you maybe had to dip in it.
    If this isn't enough for you to vote on change then stay the way you
    are miserable.

    Keep on bring in the endorsements. O'bama 08-16

    June 24, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. Obama08

    To: Union Label
    You pretty much hit the nail right on the head.

    June 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Dave, Illinois

    Typical union mentatilty: union says to vote this way or else! Unions are nothing but a collection of thugs with sheep falling in line! Sheep? Oh yeah, now I understand why their for Obama. Just like the Obamites, sheep.

    June 24, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Vicky Avare

    Now the standard for electing our President is based on who raises the most money! So lets skip all the contests and forget who deserves to be the leader of the free world and just "buy" into the White House! For the record, even though the pretentious, deluded Obama spent 4 to 1 on TV ads etc., to promote his weak image, Clinton tied and actually won the popular vote but the Dem., process is flawed and unfair! Forget the "WILL" of the majority, just " buy" your way into the White House with the help of an unreliable, unrealistic Rule system and naive, gullible, short/blind sighted voters! Disillusioned democrat

    June 24, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. ShirleyY - Seattle

    GO OBAMA WE LOVE YOU AND YOU HATERS OF OBAMA, GET READY FOR YOUR NEW PRESIDENT, SENATOR BARACK OBAMA.

    I LOVE YOU BARACK AND MICHELLE, YOU TWO ARE A AWESOME TEAM TOGETHER.

    ALL SUPPORTERS OF MCCAIN, YOU ARE DEMONS.

    June 24, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Tony

    WWood:

    The reason why many don't like unions is because they're inefficient, have poor productivity and lead to poorly made, high-cost products. Pay increases are tied to tenure rather than performance, the union infrastructure only survives to the extent that worker/management conflict exists and therefore does everything it can to continue it, etc. (just like wacko Hamas members try to undermine peace negotiations).

    My father-in-law was a union electrician and would often have to wait hours for someone else to just open up a door for him, since it wasn't HIS union that had the job of opening up the door. Does anybody out there like being told that you CANNOT do something because someone else HAS to do it?

    As for those of you who talk about Republicans not being in the 21st century, do you understand how laughable it is that your pro-union stance puts you squarely in the 1930s?????

    June 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Enlightened Voter

    Hey ny – learn how to spell before you try and trash someone with your hate. BTW what has he lied about? Name one thing, i dare you...

    June 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Simba,from Toronto,canada

    I really don't trust union, obama was endorsed by one in Ohio during primary and he ended up losing big time to Hillary by 10pts. I hope that the history won't repeat itself. However, i still believe that he might win in November due to his family history:
    1) his cousin Odinga from his father side is the current Kenyan vice president.
    2) another cousin this time from his mother Dick Cheney is the current USA vice president. Since is surrounded by vice presidents both sides,i think that it is time for him to be a president. No wonder he defeated Hillary. OBAMA 08-12

    June 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Tony

    Union Label:

    Actually, I would imagine most people who aren't in unions are very happy about it. You might try opening your eyes and comparing your wages and benefits, etc. to those of your peers in non-unions businesses. Yours are almost certainly going to be lower. If there was EVER an organization that had as it's ONLY mission its own self-preservation, it is unions. Think about it.

    June 24, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Tony

    By the way, people...you might be looking at all the "clever" McSame, McShame, McWar, etc. comments (and really, wow...you guys are SO funny!!!! and think you've got an edge. Well guess what sports fans...blog posters are a VERY SMALL minority of American citizens...and guess who is going to get an overwhelming majority of the votes from non-bloggers? There are MANY MANY MANY people out there who a) don't blog and b) are WAY smarter than you, and lots of them are definitely going to be voting for McCain.

    June 24, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Barack, keep the 'labour princes' in front of you at all times!! You and the Secret Service can keep an eye on them more easily!! If they serve you like they serve their memberships, it is a backing of little use!!

    June 24, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Allan

    Please stop Romney and Rove from destroying Social Security !!

    Everybody is worried religious stuff and photos.
    There is an old saying: Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and God what is God's.

    June 24, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Optimus Prime

    Autobots, we have an new and very strong ally in our fight to save the earth from the evil decept-republicons. His name is Obamanation!

    June 24, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. democrat in the white house

    Good I hope this bring him more votes in the GE. Look out Neocons the time for the Democrats to take over Government for the people

    Obama 08 !!!

    June 24, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. MD

    Once this endorsement is official, the Republicans are toast.

    The power, influence, and financial contibution of AFL-CIO cannot be matched by Republicans.

    With their help, Obama's cash collction in July should break all records.

    June 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. tt

    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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