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More Union "Backlash" For Clinton

- October 5, 2015

Clinton Faces "Notable Defections" From Multiple State Chapters And Rank-And-File Members Among Unions Across The Country

On Saturday, The National Education Association Endorsed Clinton's Candidacy. "The National Education Association, which has 3 million members, announced its support Saturday for the former secretary of state. Clinton accepted the endorsement in person after speaking earlier in the day to the Human Rights Campaign in Washington." (Eugene Scott, Top Teachers Union Endorses Hillary Clinton," CNN, 10/3/15)

STATE CHAPTERS AND MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION ARE OPENLY VOICING THEIR OPPOSITION TO ANY ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON

The Endorsement Is "Sure To Further Aggravate Many Rank-And-File Members" Who Wanted Time To Consider Other Candidates. "But the move by the board of the nation's largest union to give her a primary endorsement nod is sure to further aggravate many rank-and-file members who wanted more time to consider the candidates - especially as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wages an unexpectedly competitive run and Vice President Joe Biden weighs his options." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

  • "More Than 30,000 NEA Members Have Shown Support For Sen. Bernie Sanders" Over Clinton. "In a letter to members, five educators from Wisconsin, Vermont, Massachusetts and Montana write: 'More than 30,000 NEA members have shown support for Sen. Bernie Sanders to be our next president through his campaign website or various social media sites,' and cite Sanders' opposition to charter schools, support for collective bargaining rights and free tuition at public higher education institutions." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

NEA State And Local Leaders Have "Expressed Concern That An Early Endorsement Does Not Allow Members To Be Participants In Real Debate Are The Issues That Is Still Unfolding." "Other state leaders have expressed concern that an early endorsement does not allow members to be participants in a real debate around the issues that is still unfolding." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

Multiple NEA State Chapters Publicly Refused To Participate In The NEA's National Endorsement Of Clinton

The NEA Has Already Experienced "Notable Defections" Against Its National Efforts To Line Up Behind Clinton. "The pressure has been intense enough to prompt some notable defections in the National Education Assn., the largest labor union in the U.S., whose president is lobbying state chapters to line up behind Clinton when the organization considers an endorsement at a leadership gathering that starts Thursday." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

  • NEA Branches In Vermont, Massachusetts, Nebraska, And New Jersey Have Either Endorsed Other Candidates Or Asked The Executive Board To "Hold Off" On Endorsing Clinton. "But the Vermont NEA arm endorsed Sanders. Branches in Massachusetts, Nebraska and New Jersey asked the national leaders to hold off." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)
  • Rank-And-File Members Of The California Chapter Of The NEA The Largest And "Most Powerful Chapter," Are "Expressing Irritation" Over The Clinton Endorsement. "Officials at the California Teachers Assn., the biggest and most powerful NEA chapter, say they are not instructing their representatives at this week's leadership meetings on how to vote. But some of the most vocal opponents of a Clinton endorsement come from their ranks. They are expressing irritation with union leaders who cite internal polling data to suggest the membership squarely supports Clinton." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

Efforts To Stop A Clinton Endorsement Stem From "Disaffection" Towards Clinton-Obama Education Policies And An Overall Consensus That National Education Association Members "Do Not Trust" Her

Many NEA Members "Said They Simply Do Not Trust Clinton To Fight For Their Interests And Plan To Fight Back Against Any Union Endorsement." "Some NEA members supporting Sanders said they simply do not trust Clinton to fight for their interests -- and plan to fight back against any union endorsement. 'Even if she says things that today sound supportive, she's not going to be a steadfast friend of organized labor,' said Jamie Rinaldi, a teacher from Newton, Mass., and a union activist. 'We don't know she's going to be the ally that's going to stand with our legislative agenda.'" (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

The "Disaffection" From NEA Members And Other Unions Has Proven To Be A "Major Political Problem For Clinton." "The disaffection is a major political problem for Clinton. Teachers have long been some of the most valuable boots on the ground for the Democratic Party, knocking on doors, making phone calls, getting out the vote. Democratic support for charter schools, harsh teacher evaluation models and funding schemes that reward districts for cracking down when test scores falter has shrunk this volunteer army." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION NOW BRACES FOR AN "ANGRIER AND MORE ENERGIZED" BACKLASH THAT STILL PLAGUES THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS FOR ITS NATIONAL ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON

The National Education Association Faces "Backlash That Its Sister Union, The Smaller American Federation Of Teachers (AFT), Is Still Struggling With After Its Leaders Endorsed Clinton" Earlier This Year. "The decision the NEA will make at its leadership meetings this week comes amid a backlash that its sister union, the smaller American Federation of Teachers, is still struggling with after its leaders endorsed Clinton early in the summer." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

  • The Reaction From The AFT Ranks "Has Been Angrier And More Energized" Than It's Leaders Anticipated. "The reaction has been angrier and more energized than that union's leaders anticipated. Facebook lit up. Nearly 5,000 teachers signed a petition demanding the endorsement be reversed, and members accused their president - Clinton friend, advisor and fundraiser Randi Weingarten - of cronyism and imperiousness." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

NEA Members Had Demanded "That Their Union Not Commit Money And Personnel The Way The American Federation Of Teachers Did," Calling For Any Endorsement To Be Brought Before A Full 8,000-Member Assembly. "Many NEA members are demanding that their union not commit money and personnel the way the American Federation of Teachers did. They want any move to endorse Clinton brought before the full 8,000-member assembly, which could very well block it." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

Frustration Over The Decision Could Stem From The Fact That Sen. Bernie Sanders Received The Same Grade As Clinton On NEA's Congressional Legislative Scorecard And Gov. Martin O'Malley Was Named NEA's Governor Of The Year. "The email noted that while Clinton is the candidate the union believes is most likely to win, both Clinton and Sanders received "A" rankings on NEA's congressional legislative scorecard, and O'Malley was voted NEA's Governor of the Year." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

Prior To The Endorsement, Ben Spielberg, Huffington Post Contributor And Former Member Of The NEA, Called The Potential Decision By The NEA A "Huge Mistake" That Would "Violate Members' Trust." "The National Education Association (the union to which I used to belong) is considering an early endorsement of Hillary Clinton. This decision, like the American Federation of Teachers' endorsement of Clinton on July 11, would be a huge mistake. One reason is that it would violate members' trust." (Ben Spielberg, "Bernie Sanders, Not Hillary Clinton, Deserves Union Endorsements," Huffington Post, 9/30/15)

FLASHBACK: Many AFT Members Called The Endorsement "Rigged In Favor Of Clinton" And Accused AFT President And Clinton Supporter Randi Weingarten Of "Cronyism And Imperiousness"

The AFT's Endorsement Of Clinton Was Immediately Met With "Backlash Among Teachers" From Across The Country. "'I'm honored to have the support of AFT's members and leaders, and proud to stand with them to unleash the potential of every American,' Clinton said in response. 'Their voices and the voices of all workers are essential to this country.' But almost immediately, there was a backlash among teachers in far-flung locals across the states." (Sam Frizell, "Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor," Time, 7/16/15)

"Nearly 5,000 Teachers Signed A Petition Demanding The Endorsement Be Reversed." "Nearly 5,000 teachers signed a petition demanding the endorsement be reversed, and members accused their president - Clinton friend, advisor and fundraiser Randi Weingarten - of cronyism and imperiousness." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

  • Teachers Have Took To Facebook To Share "Thousands Of Comments Expressing Dissent." " On Facebook, a post about the union's endorsement has thousands of comments expressing dissent." (Annie Karni, "Unions Seethe Over Early Clinton Endorsement," Politico, 7/16/15)

AFT Members "Accused Their President - Clinton Friend, Advisor And Fundraiser Randi Weingarten - Of Cronyism And Imperiousness." "Nearly 5,000 teachers signed a petition demanding the endorsement be reversed, and members accused their president - Clinton friend, advisor and fundraiser Randi Weingarten - of cronyism and imperiousness." (Evan Halper, "Some Teachers Resisting Union Endorsement Of Hillary Rodham Clinton For President," Los Angeles Times, 10/1/15)

  • "Widely Read" Teachers' Blogs Published "Screeds" Against The Endorsement, Calling It "Rigged In Favor Of Clinton. "Widely read teachers' blogs published screeds against the decision, calling it rigged in favor of Clinton, a longtime friend of AFT president Randi Weingarten. Though a June poll among AFT members showed a majority supporting Clinton over Sanders, the fervor of those unhappy with the endorsement ran high." (Sam Frizell, "Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor," Time, 7/16/15)

THE SAME WEEKEND THE NEA ENDORSED CLINTON, THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS JOINED OTHER TOP LABOR UNIONS TO DELAY THEIR ENDORSEMENT

The International Association Of Fire Fighters, "One Of The Country's More Politically Powerful Unions," Has "Abandoned" All Plans To Support Clinton's Candidacy. "The International Association of Fire Fighters, one of the country's more politically powerful unions, has abandoned its initial plans to endorse Hillary for president, according to union sources. Harold A. Schaitberger, the union's general president, informed Mrs. Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, in a telephone call on Monday." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

  • The Decision By The Fire Fighters Union To Embrace Other Candidates Is "The Opposite Approach" Of The NEA. "It's the opposite approach of the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the International Association of Fire Fighters, which have opted to delay endorsements - something labor insiders attribute to uncertainty over Biden and Sanders." (Annie Karni, "Clinton Endorsement Divides Teachers Union," Politico, 9/29/15)

Against The Backdrop Of Increasing Union Unease With Clinton, "The Possibility Of Losing Formal Support From The Firefighters Comes As A Particularly Unwelcome Blow." "But two major unions, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have said they will hold off on an endorsement until they have completed the process of consulting with their members. Union leaders have said the decision has as much to do with Mr. Sanders as with Mr. Biden's looming decision about whether to enter the race. Against this backdrop, the possibility of losing formal support from the firefighters comes as a particularly unwelcome blow." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

Even As The Leadership Of The Firefighters Union Was Being Wined-And-Dined By The Clinton Campaign, "Clear Discomfort" Among The Union's Members "Made The Endorsement Increasingly Untenable"

Negotiations With The I.A.F.F Leadership Began Early In 2015, Becoming Serious In June When The Union's Leadership Told Clinton "The Union Was Strongly Leaning Toward Endorsing." "The Clinton campaign had been in touch with the union about the possibility of an endorsement during the first several months of 2015. But the talks became serious in June, when Mr. Schaitberger, with the assent of his board, told the campaign the union was strongly leaning toward endorsing Mrs. Clinton, pending the board's formal vote." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

  • The "Nearly Inevitable" Endorsement Was Supposed To Occur This Month In Iowa. "The two sides later began working out details of the endorsement that Mr. Schaitberger and his board had viewed as nearly inevitable, including discussions about the timing and location of an announcement. The most recent plans would have had Mr. Schaitberger endorse Mrs. Clinton this month in Iowa." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

As Late As July Union Leadership Met With Clinton's Aides At A Brooklyn Restaurant "Under The Assumption That The Endorsement Was On Track." "In late July, senior union officials traveled to Mrs. Clinton's campaign headquarters in Brooklyn to meet with several of her political and policy aides. The meetings took place under the assumption that the endorsement was on track, according to the union official. Their purpose was to educate the campaign about the policies that union members would want to see Mrs. Clinton discuss, and the rhetoric they would want her to use when discussing them. In the evening, the I.A.F.F. officials dined with senior Clinton campaign aides at a Brooklyn restaurant." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

Unfortunately For Clinton's Well Laid Plans, "Clear Discomfort Of The Union's Membership With Mrs. Clinton" As Well As A Possible Biden Candidacy "Made The Endorsement Increasingly Untenable." "But the clear discomfort of the union's membership with Mrs. Clinton, as well as Mr. Biden's possible candidacy, made the endorsement increasingly untenable. As Mr. Biden contemplates a run, organized labor represents one of the main Democratic constituencies he and Mrs. Clinton would fight over most intensely. Mr. Biden has been courting union officials, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, Richard L. Trumka, and the service employees union leader, Mary Kay Henry." (Noam Scheiber and Amy Chozick, "Firefighters' Union Backs Away From Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton," The New York Times , 10/2/15)

Distrust Of Clinton Comes From Union Members Who "Feel Burned" By Clinton-Obama Policies And Are "Skeptical Of Her Commitment To Their Issues"

Labor Officials "Feel Burned" By The Obama Administration And Are "Upset" With Clinton's Handling Of Current Trade Issues. "But labor officials feel burned by the Obama administration's handling of trade, and are upset Clinton did not take a clear stance against the trade promotion authority bill (TPA) that passed Congress this summer." (Ken Thomas, "'Give It A Go, Joe': Pittsburgh Union Crowd Cheers On Biden," Associated Press , 9/8/15)

Ben Spielberg, Huffington Post Contributor And Former Member Of The National Education Association, Has Written That Clinton's Record On Organized Labor As "Significantly Worse" Than That Of Her Chief Rivals. "But Clinton's record is significantly worse than Sanders's. She served on the board of directors of Walmart -- which to this day remains one of the nation's most notoriously anti-union businesses -- from 1986 to 1992, for instance." (Ben Spielberg, "Bernie Sanders, Not Hillary Clinton, Deserves Union Endorsements," Huffington Post, 9/30/15)

Union Members Are "Frustrated With Clinton" And Are "Skeptical Of Her Commitment To Their Issues." "Some labor officials are frustrated with Clinton for not coming to their aid in the fight over trade legislation in Congress, while others are skeptical of her commitment to their issues." (Ken Thomas, "'Give It A Go, Joe': Pittsburgh Union Crowd Cheers On Biden," Associated Press , 9/8/15)

FURTHERING SPOILING CLINTON'S FAVOR WITH UNIONS IS SPECULATION SURROUNDING CANDIDATES JOINING THE RACE AND SURGING COMPETITION

Some "Major Unions" Are Delaying National Endorsements Due To Anticipation Of A Potential Biden Candidacy

Recently, Two "Major Unions" Have "Decided To Delay Endorsements" In The Presidential Race Due To The Uncertainty Surrounding Vice President Joe Biden's. "Two major unions have decided to delay endorsements in the presidential race -- a move labor insiders attribute in part to the uncertainty Vice President Joe Biden's potential run has inserted into the Democratic primary." (Annie Karni, "Top Union Put Brakes On Clinton Endorsement," Politico, 9/22/15)

  • The Decision By The SEIU And AFSCME To Delay An Endorsement Is A "Setback" For Clinton Who Hoping To Show Vice President Biden There Is "Little Room In The Race." " The decisions are a setback for Hillary Clinton, who has been courting the labor giants in the hopes of an early lock down of two powerhouse unions that can organize millions of members and resources on the ground. And they come against the backdrop of a Clinton campaign show of force -- in terms of establishment donors, delegates and endorsements -- as Biden weighs his options. Adding the support of two of the most muscular unions now would have sent a powerful message there is little room in the race for the vice president." (Annie Karni, "Top Union Put Brakes On Clinton Endorsement," Politico, 9/22/15)

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Recently Said The Democrat Presidential Primary Is "Still Wide Open" And That Vice President Biden Has Time To Join The Race. "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the Democratic presidential campaign is 'still wide open' and Vice President Joe Biden has time to join the field." (Trumka: Democratic Field 'Still Wide Open,' Biden Has Time" The New York Times, 9/1/15)

  • Trumka Went On To Say Joe Biden "Would Be A Good President." "The labor leader said Biden has 'a lot on his shoulders, I'd say,' but 'he has to decide whether he's got the full focus ... he and his family and I don't know the answer to that. Only he knows the answer to that. He would be a good candidate. He would be a good president.'" (Trumka: Democratic Field 'Still Wide Open,' Biden Has Time" The New York Times, 9/1/15)

Activists In A Wide Array Of Unions Including The Communication Workers Of America, The American Postal Workers Union And The AFL-CIO Locals Say They Are Eager To Support Sanders. "Activists in a wide array of unions including the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union and the AFL-CIO locals say they are eager to support Sanders. But some of the national leaders are reticent to endorse a candidate like Sanders, who is still considered a long shot in the Democratic primary, and risk losing influence with Clinton down the road or even damaging her candidacy in the general election." (Sam Frizell, "Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor," Time, 7/16/15)

Many Union Members Consider The Surging Bernie Sanders A "More Trusted Alliance" Than Clinton

Many Union Workers See A "More Natural Alliance" With Sanders Than With Clinton. "Many workers see a more natural alliance with Sanders than with Clinton, according to interviews with dozens of union members, from rank-and-file dues-payers to national union presidents." (Sam Frizell, "Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor," Time, 7/16/15)

Sanders Is Consistently "Drawing Far Larger And More Enthusiastic Crowds" Than Clinton And Is "Sapping Clinton's Shaky Support On The Far Left." "Already, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) is drawing far larger and more enthusiastic crowds and sapping Clinton's shaky support on the far left. Biden's entry could compound Clinton's difficulties in consolidating the remainder of the Democratic base - as well as her claim to being the most experienced candidate." (Karen Tumulty and Anne Gearan, "Debate, Benghazi, A Biden Decision: October Is When It Gets Real For Clinton," The Washington Post , 10/1/15)

Activists In A Wide Array Of Unions Including The Communication Workers Of America, The American Postal Workers Union And The AFL-CIO Locals Say They Are Eager To Support Sanders Over Clinton. "Activists in a wide array of unions including the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union and the AFL-CIO locals say they are eager to support Sanders. But some of the national leaders are reticent to endorse a candidate like Sanders, who is still considered a long shot in the Democratic primary, and risk losing influence with Clinton down the road or even damaging her candidacy in the general election." (Sam Frizell, "Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor," Time, 7/16/15)

Sanders "Has Seen A Massive Surge Of Support" In Multiple Polls And Is "Steadily Closing In" On Clinton. "According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, she is now supported by 42 percent of Democrats, down from 63 percent in July. And she's down 29 points in her support among women. Sanders, on the other hand, has seen a massive surge. He's generating huge crowds and filling up stadiums as he campaigns across the country. And although he's still trailing Clinton in national polls, he is steadily closing in on her." (Liz Kreutz, "Hillary Clinton: Why She Continues To Ignore Bernie Sanders," ABC News, 9/17/15)


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