NEVADA: Labor backs Obama

Well, Sen. Obama locked up endorsements from the local NV chapters of Culinary Union Workers and the SEIU. That’s certainly good for the Senator, but I am scratching my head as to why these labor organizations did not back Edwards. Edwards, who has been running for president since ’04, has been fine tuning his campaign to position himself as a champion of labor. Obama…I don’t know what he’ll do for labor, specifically. The Labor part of his website doesn’t quite say anything that Democrats haven’t been saying for eons:

Obama will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. Obama will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.

  • Ensure Freedom to Unionize: Obama believes that workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers. Obama cosponsored and is strong advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan effort to assure that workers can exercise their right to organize. He will continue to fight for EFCA’s passage and sign it into law.
  • Fight Attacks on Workers’ Right to Organize: Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor of legislation to overturn the NLRB’s “Kentucky River” decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction, and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor laws.
  • Protect Striking Workers: Obama supports the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. He will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Barack Obama will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.

And looking at John Edwards site, you find that there really isn’t that much mentioned about unions, although on the Working Families page, there is a section that say:

Strengthen Labor Laws: Unions made manufacturing jobs the foundation of our middle class, and they can do the same for our service economy. That’s why Edwards has helped more than 20 national unions organize thousands of workers over the last few years. Union membership can be the difference between a poverty-wage job and middle-class security. Federal law promises workers the right to choose a union, but the law is poorly enforced, full of loopholes, and routinely violated by employers. Edwards supports the Employee Free Choice Act to give workers a real choice in whether to form a union, and making penalties for breaking labor laws tougher and faster, so unions can compete on a level playing field and the right to join a union means something. Edwards also supports banning the permanent replacement of strikers so unions can negotiate fairly.

I could be looking at these sites wrong and missing key information somewhere, but they seem to be saying the same thing. I don’t know what made the labor unions choose one over the other.

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3 thoughts on “NEVADA: Labor backs Obama

  1. His support and work for the Congress strike BEFORE he was a Senator and his history helping those in Chicago (um, it’s a union town) when union jobs were being lost, that’s why they are endorsing. For UNITE-HERE, it’s never been about what can you do for us in the future, it’s what have you done in the past when no one was looking. And when no one was looking, he was working for workers rights.

    Edwards has tried to position himself as a union candidate because of his upbringing much the same way as Casey in PA. In PA though, Casey’s dad and grandfather helped lay that foundation, with Edwards, there are those of us in the movement who think it’s really just smoke and mirrors. When no one is watching, will he still be there? Will Clinton?

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  2. Thanks for adding that…Obama’s union work in Chicago was supposed to be between the last two sentences in the first paragraph. I hadn’t noticed that it got deleted.

    As for Edwards, I completely get what you’re saying and totally agree. Some of my uncles were going to back Edwards initially, but the union thing kind of turned them off.

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  3. Glad to be of help. And now that I’m also in the Obama camp (I was only on the fence because I was more interested in Dodd), it’s nice that a union I’d helped years ago (ILGWU which merged and morphed into UNITE-HERE) has also come out in support of him.

    PS, on a side note about Kucinich…I’m not a fan of his picking and chosing of who in labor he supports. Ask a railroader in Cleveland about that and you’ll get what I mean. His handling of Conrail sealed the deal on him ever being a good Pres candidate for me. So, between his choice stand and his cherry picking unions, let’s just say, I’m over him.

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