August 17, 2007
crowd eye ballot process to do their dirty work
Unions and members
should focus on friends - but not with blind loyalty
'My heart is with the
Mighty Mac' - Old-time Hardhats have their say during 50th anniversary
marks workers' role in building Mackinac Bridge
opens new heart and surgery center
hello Labor Day - Events slated in several communities
crowd eye ballot process to do their dirty work
By Marty Mulcahy
LANSING - With a Democratic governor and a Democratic
majority in the state House of Representatives, a right-to-work
law wouldn't have a chance of passage these days in Michigan
Wrong - because if right-to-work is going to be adopted in
Michigan, the process is probably going to bypass state lawmakers.
In the not-so-distant future, right-to-work proponents may intensify
their efforts to point to unions as a culprit for Michigan's
lousy economy, and put a pro- right-to-work measure on a statewide
ballot, in an effort to severely weaken union influence in Michigan.
An article published last month by MIRS - Michigan's oldest
daily capitol newsletter - said "internal polls" by
a pro-RTW group show a strong 60-61 percent support for right-to-work
in our state. Furthermore, the director of the limited government
advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP) described
the chances of moving a right-to-work bill forward as "50-50"
for the 2008 ballot.
That article came a week after Republican Senate Minority
Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) called for "someone"
to put a right-to-work question on the ballot.
A right-to-work bill has already been introduced in the state
And articles by various newspaper columnists around the state
and the arch-conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy this
year have been stepping up calls for instituting a right-to-work
law in Michigan. On top of that, a corporate-funded group called
Union Facts has undertaken an effort to publicize union spending
in an effort to sow discord among union members.
"There's no doubt about it, there's a conservative, anti-union
crowd that's very serious about getting a right-to-work law passed
in Michigan," said Ken Fletcher, legislative director for
the Michigan AFL-CIO. "Clearly they don't have the votes
in the legislature - but a strongly bankrolled effort to get
petition signatures could get it on the ballot. If that happens,
unions will have to do a good job of educating their members
and getting them out to vote."
Under right-to-work laws, workers in a union shop can choose
not to pay union dues - yet they still enjoy the benefits of
union membership. Such a two-tiered set-up usually guts the clout
of unions and eventually leads to their demise.
According to the AFL-CIO, the average worker in a right to
work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other
states ($35,500 compared with $30,167). Weekly wages are $72
greater in free-bargaining states than in right to work states
($621 versus $549).
There are currently 22 right-to-work states in the U.S. Oklahoma
was the most recent state to adopt a RTW law, in 2001, and it
was the first state to adopt the anti-union measure since 1985.
Nearly every other state that adopted right-to-work laws did
so in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
The MIRS article said "presentations have been made to
deep-pocketed donors" about collecting about $1.2 million
that it would cost to hire the petition circulators to collect
the 475,000 signatures needed to put the right-to- work question
before the Michigan legislature in the form of a citizens initiative.
If both chambers failed to adopt the measure, MIRS said, the
issue would go before the voters.
Fletcher said while he knows of no specific polling about
right to work in Michigan, he said wouldn't be surprised if a
majority of our state's voters would support RTW. He said he
doubted if the measure would appear on the 2008 ballot, when
Democrats are expected to have a strong presence at the polls.
Americans for Prosperity Michigan Director Amy Hagerstrom
told MIRS that if the right-to-work initiative were successful
in Michigan - a cradle of the labor movement - it would deal
unions nationwide an enormous setback.
Fletcher said that's where education becomes vital. "If
right to work gets on the ballot, it's going to be enormously
expensive to fight," he said. "That's why unions have
to start the member education process now, explaining that the
problem in Michigan isn't unions, it's the loss of the state's
manufacturing base. Lowering wages and benefits is not a panacea."
and members should focus on friends - but not with blind loyalty
By Jim Marcinkowski
It was a basic tenet in PoliSci 101 at Michigan State that
a country's political system is based to a large degree on its
economic system. It is also true that those who participate in
the election system will reap the economic bounty.
The first six years of the Bush administration, when Republicans
virtually controlled the entire government, provided a unique
glimpse into what the Republican Party is really all about. With
unfettered control the richest received record tax relief, corporations
located off shore to escape U.S. taxes, free trade agreements
sent American jobs (and our standard of living) overseas, aid
to higher education received the largest cuts in history, CEO
and corporate profits set new record highs - and wages for everyone
It is beyond serious debate that the result of the enactment
of pure Republican control is that the rich got richer, the poor,
even poorer and our middle class working families are marked
So how were Republicans able to wreak such havoc without having
riots in the streets? Actually, it was very simple - divide and
conquer. Simply put, they were able to place all the divisive
social issues on the front porch, while they entered the back
kitchen door and stole all of the money from the cookie jar.
We were so busy with the packages on the porch that no one noticed
the empty cookie jar until it was too late, the damage was done
and the thieves were gone.
This was true of the Democratic Party as well as organized
labor that has now become the whipping boy of the corporate elites.
Knowing what we know now, the real question becomes where do
we go from here?
"Labor Unions" and the "Democratic Party"
are not synonymous or interchangeable terms. For too long the
relationship between the two has developed into a symbiotic dependency
with less than satisfying results. That needs to change if labor
is going to provide the best representation for its members and
if we are to avoid the demise of the middle class and unions
altogether. We need to focus.
Labor must devise a singular interest above all others, the
economic best interest of the working middle class. Some may
call it a litmus test. So be it. The economic best interest of
working families has to do with wages, health benefits, working
conditions, free trade agreements and the loss of good jobs.
It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment (gun control),
gay rights or abortion.
All important issues to be sure, but as a Democratic candidate
for congress with across the board union support, I was bombarded
with questions on these latter issues at almost every meeting
with union members. For their part, union members must extend
their active support based simply on key economic (union) principles.
Correspondingly, the Democratic Party should not expect union
members to be in support of all of their candidates just because
they happen to be Democrats.
Union members are an incredible resource for candidates both
in volunteers and monetary support. But unions also need to instill
a political discipline on their members and the distribution
of their resources. Once union leaders focus their membership
on the proper economic issues, they must make sure the membership
understands that that focus is indeed THE priority. It is much
easier to debate the finer points of the abortion issue from
the kitchen table when your house is not subject to foreclosure
or the Second Amendment - if you still have paid vacation time
to go hunting. The bottom line is that unions need to have the
internal discipline to have their membership support ONLY those
candidates that support union economic issues.
While it is true that the view of individual union members
spans the range of political issues, focus and discipline must
trump individual beliefs. After all, the very basis for forming
unions in the first place was the common interest of its members,
ALL of its members.
Like focus and discipline, loyalty is a key factor if we are
to re-establish unions as the force behind working Americans.
Union loyalty should be rewarded while any disloyalty dealt with
harshly. No second chances - no "ifs," "ands,"
or "buts." You have one chance to do the right thing,
This is where it all comes together. If you are a union activist
or member, support the candidate, any candidate that supports
union economic issues regardless of the other issues.
If you are a union lobbyist, there is no such thing as compromise.
If a city council person or state legislator is "with us
on most issues," that's not good enough for union support.
Either they are with us 100% or they're not with us. Not practical
you say? Too bad. (My guess is that you would only have to pull
support once and the message would get out). It all begins at
the local level.
Consider the following: I was a member of Teamsters Local
214 in Royal Oak. When the union was organized in 2003, the city
commission was controlled by Republicans. The commission voted
6-1 in favor of the union. The dissenting vote? - the now current
state representative from Royal Oak, a DEMOCRAT! Fast forward
to 2007 and you'll find that the Teamster's bargaining unit in
Royal Oak no longer exists. Why? Because the mayor, a DEMOCRAT,
lead the charge to hire a law firm to destroy it! To unions across
the state, these acts should be unforgivable, but no one is holding
them accountable and union political funds continue to flow into
local party coffers.
We are at war!
To borrow a caption from Lou Dobbs, there is a "War on
the Middle Class." The enemy is the entire Republican party,
some Democrats and some union members that will place their personal
political priorities over those of the union in general. Michigan,
where a good part of the labor movement first took root is now
considering whether we will become a right-to-work state! If
we are to survive, it is time to take the fight to the streets,
to demand focus and loyalty and to leave a political body count
in our wake. We have an obligation to pass on to our children
what we were given. As it now stands, we will become the first
generation to turn over something considerably less.
(The author, a former Republican, is a retired CIA officer,
county prosecutor, FBI agent, and Navy veteran who lost in his
bid last year to unseat Republican Eighth District Congressman
is with the Mighty Mac' - Old-time Hardhats have their say during
50th anniversary celebration
By Marty Mulcahy
ST IGNACE - They came to celebrate the 50th anniversary of
the Mackinac Bridge, which in 1957 finally united Michigan's
two peninsulas after four years of construction and decades of
frustration over having to deal with ferry boats that were the
only link between the north and the south.
They reunited with each other during several events July 27-28
- a group of tradesmen in their 70s and 80s who shared the common
experience of bringing to life Michigan's greatest engineering
and construction achievement - the Mighty Mac.
During their visit, never far in the background was the rock-solid,
five-mile long bridge that continues to be a monument to their
efforts. But this year was special: the old-time construction
workers were able to re-visit with each other, and witness the
unveiling of a monument in Bridge View Park in their honor -
a 6-foot 3-inch bronze statue representing a Mackinac Bridge
iron worker from the 1950s.
The unveiling of the statue was preceded by a 90-minute event
under a tent in the park in which carpenters, operating engineers
and primarily iron workers related their experiences working
on the bridge. Union electricians, laborers and painters were
also on hand during construction.
Several hundred were in the audience. The event culminated
two days of reunions, parades and fireworks marking the bridge's
During his introduction to the oral histories, Patrick "Shorty"
Gleason of Iron Workers Local 25, the president of the Michigan
Building and Construction Trades Council, said "this is
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you will get to meet some
of the finest tradesmen in North America. I am surrounded by
the best bridge-men you will ever meet."
One of them, iron worker Dick Nesgoda, said he was awestruck
by the immense bridge when he first went to work on the span.
"I said 'my God, what am I doing here,' " he told the
audience. "It turned out to be the best experience in my
life. I went on to work on six or eight other bridges, but my
heart is with the Mighty Mac. I'm proud to be here with all my
It was a span than many detractors said couldn't be built,
whether it was because of the deep water, the supposedly inadequate
bedrock under the Straits, or the high winds and brutal winters
that the area experiences. Obtaining financing for the $100 million
bridge was perhaps the greatest challenge - New York financiers
wondered why a bridge should be built that would only benefit
hunters and a few vacationers.
The political, financial and engineering obstacles were all
overcome, and groundbreaking on the $100 million bridge began
in St. Ignace on May 7, 1954.
Merritt-Chapman and Scott managed the foundation work, and
construction of the steel superstructure was supervised by the
American Bridge Division of United States Steel Corp. Working
on the construction were an estimated 3,500 bridgemen, 350 engineers
and 7,500 at off-site quarries, mills and other tooling shops.
About 50 of those workers answered the call to come to the
Straits region for the celebrations last month. Like many construction
workers, they mostly kept their comments short and essentially
let their work do the talking for them.
"Something like this was needed to bring the clan together
again," said iron worker Mike Gleason, Shorty Gleason's
dad. Added fellow iron worker Jim Sweeney, who said he drove
the first rivet into the bridge: "It's wonderful you people
showed up to honor these guys and the Mighty Mac."
The vast majority of the workers on the Mighty Mac were iron
workers - and in a geographical quirk, locals 8 (formerly 783)
25, 340 all shared jurisdiction and employment at the bridge.
On hand to mark the event were business mangers Jim Jorgensen
(Local 8); Jim Hamric (Local 25) and Bruce Hawley (Local 340).
Also present from the Iron Workers International Union were Greg
Hicks and Walter Wise.
"It was a proud moment when I became a journeymen, then
a business manager," said Jorgensen. "But it doesn't
hold a candle to today, getting to ride over the bridge (in the
parade) with my heroes. Thanks for showing us the courage and
continuing the legacy of the iron workers."
Said Duane McGregor, an operating engineer, in a typically
short comment: "The bridge is still up after 50 years -
they said it couldn't be done, but there it is,"
Five workers died while building the bridge. Iron worker Ray
Daley told the audience that "the area looks beautiful out
there, but it can be a bit treacherous." He described iron
workers "jumping for their lives" to go from the safety
of a pier to a sinking caisson bobbing in the water. "All
these men who worked on the bridge looked like school kids back
then," he said. "Now we're old timers."
Iron worker Jerry Kennelly said his experience on the bridge
started when he got laid off from a job in Southeast Michigan.
"I had a new car in 1956, and headed north for Mackinac,"
he said. "The next thing I knew I was driving rivets 450
feet in the air. I wondered what the hell I was doing."
Cal Prout related one of the more humorous experiences on
the bridge. He said he was a "cool kid" in 1955, and
got a job on the bridge earning good money, $148 a week. At one
point his foreman told him his next job was going to be banding
cable at the top of one of the towers - which meant hauling a
set of 50-pound tongs 552 feet to the top.
"Well, I got tired, and I dropped the tongs 552 feet
into the water," Prout said. "I wasn't a cool bad-ass
any more, I thought my ass was going to be fired. So I went to
the foreman and said, "Jerry, I can't find those tongs anywhere."
He got away with that fib - and the story has a conclusion.
"Years later, at a restaurant in Negaunee, here's a set
of tongs in a case," Prout said. "I asked the owner
'where'd you get them?' He said a diver found it off the North
J.C. Stillwell is an iron worker who worked on the bridge.
He owns Mama Mia Restaurant in Mackinaw City - and runs a iron
worker museum. "I worked with some of the best and nicest
men in the country," he said. "then I worked in the
museum and met the best people from all over the world. They're
After those oral accounts, with the Mackinac Bridge in the
distance, those retirees stood at attention while the statue,
created by artist Janice Trimpe, was unveiled to a round of applause.
Joining the festivities were Michigan Department of Transporation
Director Kirk Steudle and Mackinac Bridge Authority Chairman
Bill Gnodtk. The iron workers presented the authority with a
framed photo of iron workers topping out the bridge.
"These men built what couldn't be built and overcame
whatever Mother Nature threw at them." said Iron Workers
International General Treasurer Walt Wise. "We're proud
of the men who turned dreams into reality and built the Mackinac
MICHIGAN BUILDING and Construction Trades
Council President Patrick "Shorty" Gleason, at the
podium, hosted a storytelling session by iron workers and other
tradesmen (seated behind him) who built the Mackinac Bridge 50
A SIX-FOOT THREE-INCH bronze figure representing
an iron worker from the 1950s walks a beam in Bridge View Park
in St. Ignace, with the Mackinac Bridge in the background.
statue marks workers' role in building Mackinac Bridge
By Marty Mulcahy
ST. IGNACE -Five days after the bronze iron worker statue
she created was unveiled at the July 28 Mackinac Bridge 50th
anniversary celebration, sculptor Janice Trimpe said she was
still elated with how her work turned out and the reaction it
"I'm very proud of it," she said. "At the same
time I'm humbled to be asked to do it, and I was humbled to see
the reaction by the iron workers. It brought tears to my eyes."
A sculptor for 34 years, Trimpe has a number of bronze figures
to her credit, and is known as a fast worker. She started with
a clay model of the iron worker in February and had it ready
in March for the Mike Petrucci at the Fine Arts Sculpture Centre
foundry to make into bronze.
"I went back the day after it was unveiled and listened
to some of the comments," the 64-year-old sculptor said.
"I was really pleased to hear how realistic they thought
it was. One guy said the boots weren't right because they didn't
have a heel, and another guy told him that no, they didn't have
heels because it could have caught on the grating. So it was
those kind of comments that were gratifying. It was really an
The statue was sponsored by Iron Workers Locals 8, 25 and
340. Retired iron workers Rick (Squeegee) Whitson and Mark Morton
met with Janice about 10 times, bringing authentic tools, clothing
and a toolbelt to make sure they got it just right. In nice detail
on the iron worker's tool belt are two spud wrenches, a sleever
bar, a 12-inch crescent wrench and a 1-inch bull pin. Over his
shoulder he has a rod-busters tool belt, with pliers, a wooden
rule and a wire reel. He's carrying an eight-pound sledgehammer.
Whitson said he was asked to consult with Janice on the project
because of his work with memorabilia on the 100th anniversary
of Local 25.
"They basically asked us how to show her how to dress
an iron worker from that time period," Whitson said. "We're
proud iron workers, and I considered it a chance of a lifetime
to honor those guys who worked on the bridge. They were tough
old guys. It was a real honor for us."
Whitson added: "Janice was an excellent person to work
with. The statue came out fantastic with all the detail. The
reaction from the men was wonderful. There were tears in the
eyes of some of the old timers."
Like many public sculptures, the iron worker was created slightly
oversized at 6 foot, 3 inches. Trimpe was asked to create a "rugged"
face for the figure. The bronze on the figure is only a quarter-inch
thick, and it's hollow inside, "like a chocolate Easter
bunny," Trimpe said. The figure is walking on an iron bean,
with his back to the Mackinac Bridge. He's wearing bib overalls,
two flannel shirts, a period hard hat with the ubiquitous AB
(for American Bridge) on the front, and of course the authentic
Red Wing boots.
At the base of the sculpture is a plaque with the name of
five workers who died building the bridge.
Trimpe, whose has done statutes of the late Mayor Orville
Hubbard in Dearborn and the late Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara
at Metro Airport, said creating the iron worker was "the
pinnacle of my career."
"If you could have felt the love that I got," she
said. "The guys I talked to said 'let me shake your hand,'
or 'let me give you a kiss.' You couldn't be around a more appreciative
group. I'm still floating."
SCULPTOR Janice Trimpe works on the clay model
of the iron worker statue that is now in Bridge View Park in
Regional opens new heart and surgery center
LANSING - The Ingham Regional Medical Center (IRMC) unveiled
its $53 million Chi Heart & Surgery Center with a ribbon-cutting
ceremony and open house on Sunday, July 12 - a job performed
using union construction.
The new heart and surgery center will be a four-story, 158,000
square-foot facility, connecting with the main hospital campus
at 401 W. Greenlawn. In part, the expansion addresses a 50% growth
in patient admissions over the past seven years. All heart and
surgical services will be combined under one roof, and will allow
the addition of two floors of patient rooms.
The center was named for Seong M. Chi, M.D., a pioneer in
cardiac treatment, and a team member that performed mid-Michigan's
first open-heart surgery at Ingham in 1966. "The Chi Heart
and Surgery Center is the new home for our nationally-recognized
heart program,"said Robert N. Wright, Ingham's President
and CEO. "Today's dedication of this state-of-the-art medical
tower is a tribute to Dr. Chi's legacy of advancing the health
and well-being of the mid-Michigan community and beyond."
The Chi Heart and Surgery Center is the largest building project
undertaken by Ingham since its $9 million facility expansion
in 1972. The five-story tower replaces Ingham's surgery department,
combining campus heart and surgery services in one location.
This includes 10 new operating rooms, five cardiac catheterization
labs, a new surgical intensive care unit, a larger diagnostic
area, an expanded radiology department, and 30 private patient
Ingham Regional is part of McLaren Health Care, mid-Michigan's
largest health care system.
"Ten years ago, one of the compelling reasons McLaren
Health Care chose Ingham to become part of our healthcare system
was its people," said Incarnati". "From the exceptional
medical and surgical skills of Ingham's physicians, to the outstanding
patient care provided by its staff and volunteers, this hospital
exemplifies clinical excellence. The resources McLaren Health
Care has provided for this new Center builds upon these key strengths
to bring a new level of cardiac services and patient care to
the capital region."
summer, hello Labor Day - Events slated in several communities
We don't know where the summer went, either - but as the end
of August starts to loom, it's time to start thinking about Labor
Building trades workers are encouraged to join with their
fellow union members and celebrate Labor Day on Monday, Sept.
3. Labor Day celebrations will be held this year in Detroit,
Grand Rapids, Marquette/Ishpeming and Muskegon.
Here are some of the things you might need to know about each
Detroit -The 2007 Detroit Labor Day Parade will start earlier
than usual at 9 a.m. It will be staged as usual for the building
trades along Trumbull Ave. south of Michigan Ave., proceeding
along Michigan to Woodward. The earlier starting time will allow
the building trades to move ahead of the other unions' line of
march, which moves south along Woodward Avenue to Jefferson Avenue
to the Legacy of Labor Monument in Hart Plaza.
The theme of the Detroit parade is "Unions benefit all
The building trades parade lineup will start with the IBEW,
followed by the Pipe Trades, the Sheet Metal Workers, Boilermakers,
Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, Cement Masons/Plasterers, Laborers,
Iron Workers, Painters, Roofers, Heat and Frost Insulators and
A blood drive will be held on Labor Day in the basement of
IBEW Local 58 on Abbott Street, east of Trumbull from 7-1 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome. The American Red Cross reports that they
usually collect 30-40 pints of blood in this collection effort
- which would be welcome this year with blood supplies running
The Grand Rapids United Labor Day Parade starts at 10 a.m.
on Labor Day. The staging area will be in the Grand Valley parking
lots (Mt. Vernon lot and Watson lot) on the south side of Fulton
and Mt. Vernon Ave.,
The shuttle to take walking participants from John Ball to
the staging area starts running at 7 a.m. Members wishing to
drive their company vehicles, cars or motorcycles in the parade
should report directly to the staging area by 7 am. After the
parade there will be a hospitality tent with refreshments and
Marquette - The annual Labor Day Festival will be in Ishpeming,
southwest of Marquette. The parade will start at 11 a.m. EST
on Labor Day, with a parade along Euclid Street, Main Street,
Division Street and Lakeshore Drive. A picnic and program will
follow at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum and Lake Bancroft Park
on Lakeshore and Euclid Streets.
The Muskegon United Labor Day Parade will be at Pere Marquette
Park on Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2007. The parade begins at 11a.m.
Participants should meet at the Harbor Towne area at 9 a.m. to
catch the trolley to the staging area. Following the parade will
be a Solidarity Tent with food and refreshments.
Kennecott Mine: not dead yet
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has again granted
preliminary approval for a mining permit for the Kennecott Eagle
Mining Co. to conduct nickel mining operations at the proposed
Eagle Project Mine. It will also be conducting public hearings
in September in West Branch and Lansing as part of the permitting
The Eagle Project mine proposes to produce nickel, copper
and other metals from a small but rich metal sulfide deposit
located about 25 miles northwest of Marquette. A $100 million
investment is proposed. At the conclusion of the mining, Kennecott
said it is addressing the concerns for the environmental impact
on the area by proposing to backfill the mined-out areas with
waste rock and gravel, and reclaim the area to its original condition.
The DEQ reversed a ruling it made in March, when they yanked
a "proposed decision" to approve a permit for the mine
after discovering two reports on the structural integrity of
the mine were not properly made public of given the proper review.
(From Michigan Construction News.com)
Marathon eyes $1 billion expansion
Marathon Petroleum Co. has its Detroit refinery at the top of
its list for a $1 billion upgrade that would average 800 construction
workers a day, peaking at 1,200. There would be 135 jobs added
at the refinery.
Located on 200 acres in Southwest Detroit, the Heavy Oil Upgrade
Project would allow it to process Canadian crude oil - which
could lead to lower gasoline prices in Michigan. The project
would expand the refinery's capacity to 115,000 barrels per day,
from 100,000 barrels.
Marathon is also said to be considering doing the work in
Minnesota and Illinois, but the Detroit location has the best
proximity to Canada. The Michigan Building and Construction Trades
Council has sent letters to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and
Council President Kenneth Cockrel, encouraging them to support
the 17-acre expansion of the refinery.
One of the main obstacles to overcome is the environmental
impact of the expansion, although planners say emissions in the
expanded refinery in 2011 would be lower than they were in 2004.
AFL-CIO: member unions free to back candidates
A July 3rd decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia has struck down the last challenge blocking the construction
of the $270 million Firekeepers Casino in Emmett Township, near
To rise on a 78-acre site, the facility is to be built by
the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians on property
located near I-94 and 11 Mile Road. The tribe says it expects
to break ground on the project this coming fall. Completion is
being expected within 12 months.
Full House Resorts, Las Vegas, Nevada, has said it will be
handling the facility's design and construction. The project
has been opposed by a group known as the Citizens Exposing Truth
About Casinos for about eight years. (From MichiganConstructionNews.com)
More schools get 'responsible'
CHICAGO (PAI) - The AFL-CIO Executive Council turned its member
unions loose to make presidential primary endorsements, saying
the federation "decided not to proceed with a decision process
that would lead to
support for a single candidate at this time."
In a statement approved by the council on August 8 in Chicago,
the day after it hosted a debate between
seven Democratic hopefuls, the federation praised all the contenders
and said "trade unionists met with the next
president of the United Sates and six other candidates."
"There is no consensus," federation Political Director
Karen Ackerman told reporters. She added there may
not be one until after the huge round of primaries on Feb. 5.
The council said "the candidates competing for the nomination
of the Democratic Party are far
more likely to advocate positions in support of working families
than are the candidates seeking the
nomination of the Republican party."