• Bernie Snags Another HUGE Union Endorsement

    Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders got his biggest union endorsement thus far Thursday as the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) announced its support for his candidacy.

    Unions aren’t just major financial contributors, they also rally hoards supporters. As a result, Bernie and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have competed for their support. The latest endorsement represents a huge victory for the Vermont socialist. The union represents 200,000 employees and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

    “Politics as usual has not worked,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a statement. “We should judge candidates not by their political party, not by what they say, not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do.”

    Bernie was able to quickly garner a lot of support among local unions early on in his campaign. National union leaders, however, were much more hesitant, fearing he was not electable. The United Electrical Workers and the National Nurses United were some of the few national unions to officially support him.

    “Applying that criterion, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country,” Dimondstein continued. “He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk,” he said. “He is a leader in the fight to protect the public Postal Service.”

    At the same time, Hillary struggled to gain traction with the labor movement because of lingering political issues. She has since begun picking up momentum. It was her reluctance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership that first helped Sanders begin to edge Hillary out for union support. Hillary eventually came out against the trade deal after the text was released.

    In contrast, Bernie was much more adamantly opposed to the deal. He has also made issues important to the labor movement as central part of his campaign. In July, Sanders introduced a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. As a result several national unions deciding to delay endorsing anyone.

    “No other candidate has his record of standing with workers on picket lines, fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, supporting free public college tuition, and advocating for veterans’ benefits,” Dimondstein also noted. “And, no other candidate has his record of fighting to defend and expand Social Security, promoting ‘Medicare for all,’ and opposing ‘fast track trade authority’ and rotten trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).”

    APWU is also encouraging its membership to participate in rallies and events held by Labor for Bernie. The coalition includes local chapters of the American Federation of Teachers, American Postal Workers Union, Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Brotherhood Of Carpenters, AFL-CIO, Vermont State Labor Council.

    Former Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen is helping to lead the coalition. Cohen, a long time and influential union leader, announced his support for Bernie in July.

    Hillary saw her most recent wave of endorsements after Vice President Joe Biden announced Oct. 21 he would not be running for president. Biden had the potential to offer unions a safe alternative between Sanders and Clinton.

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) decided to back Hillary Oct. 23. Additionally, the International Longshoremen’s Association announced its support for Hillary Oct. 27. Hillary was also able to secured support with The American Federation of Teachers back in July and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers back in August.

    Despite his own union’s hesitance toward Hillary, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent a memo to the leaders of associated unions in July telling them not to endorse Sanders.

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