Union Endorsement Scorecard

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 17:45

Pursuant to Labor Day, and with the steelworkers and miners endorsing Edwards, here is the updated union endorsement scorecard:
  • Edwards: United Steel Workers, United Mine Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Carpenters. 2.3 million combined members.
  • Clinton: United Transportation Union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. 800,000 combined members.
  • Dodd: International Association of Firefighters. 271,000 members

Of course, the size of a union is not the only way to measure its political effectiveness. The Fire Fighters, for example, are widely regarded as a key endorsement despite their somewhat smaller membership. Here is the current line on future union endorsements:

  • SEIU, 1.8 million members: Probably Edwards, Obama or no one.
  • AFSCME, 1.5 million members: Could be any of the top three
  • Teamsters, 1.4 million members: Could be any of the top three
  • American Federation of Teachers, 830,000 members: Probably Clinton
  • UNITE-HERE: 450,000 members: Probably Edwards

In every other case, from what I understand, pretty much every other union leans toward Edwards, or leans toward not making endorsement. One possible exception I would imagine is that the National Education Association would lean toward Clinton, but I haven't heard much from them about making a primary endorsement. For more information, You can see a complete list of unions with more than 100,000 American members here, and a list of union density by state here. As far as early states go, union members as a percentage of the electorate will be highest in Nevada, second highest in Iowa, third highest in New Hampshire, and lowest in South Carolina. Whether unions will be effective in turning out their membership in these early states, and whether unions will be effective in having their membership vote for the candidate it endorsed, is another question with answers that will vary from union to union.

Chris Bowers :: Union Endorsement Scorecard

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According to my (0.00 / 0)
armchair research, I'd be surprised if anyone other than Clinton got AFSCME, and if anyone other than Edwards got SEUI.

And don't forget about Change to Win, a coalition of unions that includes seven unions and six millions workers.

Teamsters (IBT)
Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC)
United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

Change to Win would endorse if a candidate could get 5of 7, and Edwards already has carpenters. He'll get Unite Here. Teamsters looks good. Only 2 to go.

at Labor Fest in Des Moines today (0.00 / 0)
I ran into a woman I know who is very active with AFSCME in Iowa. I asked what she had heard regarding an endorsement (when and who). She and the woman she was with said AFSCME is getting pulled every which way, and they had no idea whether there would be any endorsement.

If AFSCME doesn't endorse, that's a relief for me.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
re: Machinists nod to Clinton (0.00 / 0)
One thing to remember here is that the membership of this union votes about 2/3 Dem and 1/3 Rep according to a union survey.  Given that the leadership endorsed Clinton and Huckabee, we should subtract out about 1/3 of their number.

As Chris says, a measure of political effectiveness goes beyond the membership number. I feel pretty confident the Steelworkers will turn out not only votes but also the people.

Test for union strength in this (0.00 / 0)
My UNITE-HERE friends are convinced their union will be down with Edwards. I surmise (without information) this hasn't happened yet because they are trying to pull in the whole Change to Win axis.

These people can do real field work, if their leadership is serious about throwing down.

Can it happen here?


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