(CNN) - Democrats, poised to be dealt heavy losses in November's midterm elections, are getting some help from a union ally.
The AFL-CIO is trying to turn out some of its 11.5 million members–the majority of whom are Democrats–by hitting 3.5 million them this week with flyers attacking Republican candidates running in House, Senate and gubernatorial races.
The massive union is targeting candidates in 40 congressional districts, 15 Senate races and 11 gubernatorial contests. The organization mailed nearly 4.5 million pieces in the last two weeks.
(CNN) - The president of the AFL-CIO will lambaste Sarah Palin on her home turf Thursday and is set to call the former Alaska governor a "crazy magnet that's pulling people to the right."
"She used to have a job, your governor. You knew her–or thought you did, I know I thought I did," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will say during a speech in Anchorage according to his prepared remarks. "She seemed like a decent person, an outdoorswoman. Her husband's a steelworker. She seemed to take some OK stands for working families."
"And then things got weird. After she tied herself to John McCain and they lost, she blew off Alaska. I guess she figured she'd trade up-shoot for a national stage. Alaska was too far from the FOX TV spotlight," Trumka will say. "I bet most of you, on a clear day, can see her hypocrisy from your house."
Read Trumka's full remarks after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama sought to rally the Democratic Party's union base Wednesday, telling a meeting of AFL-CIO leaders that the looming midterm elections offer a clear choice between moving forward with a stronger economy and moving backward with a failed GOP philosophy.
He ripped former President George W. Bush's administration for fostering "a profound animosity toward the notion of unions" and creating an unstable economy that only advanced the interests of "a privileged few."
The president's remarks were delivered against a backdrop of rising Democratic fears over the November elections due largely to what many analysts view as a tepid economic recovery.
"We're on the right track," Obama declared in his speech at the Washington Convention Center. But it "took us nearly a decade to dig ourselves into the hole that we're in" and a full recovery will take time.
Washington (CNN) –- Two major unions late Tuesday night defended their decisions to support Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the Senate Democratic primary.
Despite the financial and grassroots support of the Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, other unions and liberal activists, Halter was unable to defeat Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the runoff election.
Statement from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry on tonight’s primary runoff election results in Arkansas:
“All around this country, there are hard-hit families worrying about how to pay next month’s mortgage or rent. They are using credit cards to pay for basics like food and utility bills. They are watching their hours cut and more and more jobs disappear. And they are looking for leaders who are going to stand by their side to turn the tide that is threatening to engulf American workers.
“Tonight, Sen. Lincoln won a narrow victory after a bruising runoff election where each and every day she was reminded that her success is only measured by doing right by working people and their families.
“Working families all over Arkansas supported Lt. Governor Bill Halter’s bid to be their Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate because he spoke up for them and the issues that matter: jobs, financial reform and making this economy work again for people who work.
“The tens of thousands of volunteers and activists have made their point loud and clear: If you stop fighting for working families, working families will stop fighting for you.”
Washington (CNN) - An impassioned Bill Clinton campaigned for Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s re-election on Friday, telling voters the Democrat “has worked her heart out” on behalf of Arkansas in the Senate.
And, using very harsh words, Clinton accused national labor unions campaigning for Lincoln’s opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, of trying to manipulate Arkansas voters to “terrify” other Democrats in Congress into cowering to union demands.
Clinton appeared at an event at a historically black college in Little Rock with Lincoln. The two-term senator is locked in a tight run-off with Halter for the Democratic Senate nomination after neither candidate cracked the 50-percent mark in a May 18 primary.
The run-off will be held June 8.
At the Little Rock event, Clinton praised Lincoln while training his fire at labor unions that have poured money and manpower into the race to help Halter.
Reading from a Washington Post article that quoted a national labor union leader saying that forcing Lincoln to “fight this kind of fight” might make other senators “think twice about it,” Clinton said that national labor unions had decided to make Lincoln “the poster child for what happens when a Democrat crosses them.”
“In other words, this is about using you and manipulating your votes to terrify members of Congress and members of the Senate from other states,” Clinton told the crowd. “Now if you want to be used that way, have at it.”
(CNN) - As President Obama was trying to tout a healthy economy on Friday, one of his top economic advisers was literally getting sick all over the White House.
Democratic officials confirmed to CNN that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka developed a stomach bug and vomited at the White House as Obama prepared to kick off a meeting of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Trumka is a member of the key outside group that also includes economic heavyweights like former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Clinton White House official Laura D'Andrea Tyson, which met Friday to discuss the president's push to create jobs and get Congress to pass strong financial reform legislation.
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson joined Republican lawmakers in opposing President Obama's controversial nominee for the National Labor Relations Board.
Nelson said Monday he would vote against seating union lawyer Craig Becker on the five-member board because "he would pursue a personal agenda."
"This is of great concern, considering that the Board's main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand. In addition, the nominee's statements fly in the face of Nebraska's Right to Work laws, which have been credited in part with our excellent business climate that has attracted employers and many good jobs to Nebraska," the Nebraska senator said in a statement.
Becker has served as an associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. Republicans have stalled his nomination because of his union ties and concerns that he would sidestep Congress and make pro-union changes to the law.
In a statement before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee last week, Becker said "should I be confirmed, I will always remain faithful to the will of Congress."
He also said he has represented "not simply unions but also individual employees, belonging to no labor organization, in diverse trades and professions - from prison guards to retail clerks, from hospital administrators to home-care workers."
Washington (CNN) - The AFL-CIO is urging Congress to pass health care reform with a public option that doesn't tax workers' benefits, in a new television ad out this week.
The commercial features a montage of different workers pleading for health care reform, but emphasizing that they think it's "just wrong" to tax workers' benefits. In the ad, the workers claim if their health care is taxed, companies will cut benefits and they will have to pay more in the end.
The commercial first ran in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, but the union said it is spending an additional $1.5 million to expand its distribution to Virginia, Indiana and Delaware. It will run for two weeks.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just a few days after warning Democratic lawmakers that failure to support a public option might cost them union support, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer and incoming President Richard Trumka released a statement repeating the threat and promising to keep the heat on Congress and the Obama administration to support a government-run insurance option in the final version of the health care bill.
"We will be looking at every one of their votes and whether they are holding to their campaign promises," said Trumka Wednesday. "If they are against the public option and other key issues to working families such as the Employee Free Choice Act it is going to be tough for them to get support from working people."
Undecided Democratic members of Congress have faced ads and grassroots pressure from both the left and right this summer. Much of the liberal pressure has come from the Health Care for America Now coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO, and Organizing for America, President Obama's campaign arm at the Democratic National Committee.
Earlier this week, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said Democratic members of Congress who opposed a public option could expect primary challenges next year.
(Full statement after the jump)