Bernie’s Labor Backing Keeps Growing

A new group called Labor for Bernie has been formed to support the Sanders candidacy. The group’s website includes a sign-on letter for labor activists and offers a “tool kit” which includes sample resolutions in support of Bernie’s candidacy and a series of quotes from unionists about it. Here are some sample quotes:

“I think everyone is just sick and tired of hearing promises from politicians who say they’ll fight 100 percent for people but then act for Wall Street…Bernie Sanders has never strayed from his working class roots …”

“The reason I support Senator Sanders is simple: Bernie has a long track record of supporting workers and their right to unionize. Just recently he was standing with FairPoint workers on their picket lines and offering them aid and support …”

“Telephone workers in New England know Bernie well because he has walked our picket lines and supported our organizing efforts for years. In our union’s recent campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Bernie was not on the fence—he was helping us lead the fight against a job-killing trade bill backed by Democrats and Republicans alike.”

The sign-on letter includes these words:

“We call on labor leaders, union members and working people to unite behind Bernie Sanders for a voice in the presidential political process and to elect the President working families need – a President who will answer to the 99 percent!”

In These Times reports that nearly 2,000 union members have signed the letter already. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported on June 26 that 14 Iowa labor leaders were among them.

Mario Vasquez, the article’s author, also notes that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in late May that the organization had not yet endorsed a presidential candidate.

Labor for Bernie was not the only sign of growing labor support for Bernie’s candidacy. The Vermont NEA, which is that state’s largest union, endorsed Bernie’s candidacy on June 24. State NEA President Martha Allen said that “Bernie’s core values are in line with ours: he is pro-family, pro-worker, pro-education and pro-labor and we believe the time has come for his vision to become a national reality.”

“School teachers and educators are real American heroes,” Bernie said in response. “I am honored to have their backing.”

In addition, the executive board of the South Carolina AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution supporting Bernie’s candidacy.