AFL-CIO Endorses Hillary Clinton as Labor, Progressives Begin to Unify

WASHINGTON (Tribune Washington Bureau/TNS) -

The powerful AFL-CIO endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Thursday, another sign of Democrats and their allies unifying and marshaling forces to defeat Donald Trump.

Union leaders gave a nod to the “important voice” that Clinton’s rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, brought to the contentious primary campaign.

“His impact on American politics cannot be overstated,” said Richard Trumka, president of the 12.5-million-member labor organization.

“Hillary Clinton has proven herself as a champion of the labor movement, and we will be the driving force to elect her,” Trumka said. “We will run a sophisticated, targeted ground campaign. And with the dire consequences Donald Trump poses for America’s working families, it has to be.”

Clinton said she was honored by the endorsement. Trump shot back that union members will vote for him.

Trump has tried to make inroads with union voters through his populist attacks on trade deals and lost jobs in the shifting economy.

Clinton, he said in a lengthy news release, is the “enemy” of working people.

But Clinton appeared confident that labor was solidly on her side after the grueling Democratic primary in which many key unions withheld endorsements until now.

“Members of the AFL-CIO know, as I do, that we are stronger together,” she said. “We are stronger when we are investing in our country and our future.”