What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Labor union shops for a candidate

Jeremy Hobson Aug 8, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Last night, the AFL-CIO hosted a forum with almost all of the democratic presidential candidates. The labor union is thinking about endorsing a candidate as early as this fall, with the election still a year away. I’m sure the chosen candidate would be thrilled about that, but the AFL-CIO is quite a bit smaller than it was four years ago. So we’re wondering how significant that endorsement might be this time. Here’s Jeremy Hobson:


Jeremy Hobson: After the last presidential election, several unions split off from the AFL-CIO, bringing membership from 13 million down to 10 million.

But it still has loads of cash and the ability to mobilize voters and volunteers in huge numbers, says AFL-CIO spokesman Steve Smith.

Steve Smith: We’re certainly looking forward to the biggest, broadest, deepest AFL-CIO mobilization that we’ve ever had in this country.

Since the 1984 election, the federation has made only two endorsements before the primaries.

Cornell University labor studies professor Richard Hurd says to have an early endorsement, there would have to be one candidate who stands out in support of labor issues — and has a good chance of winning.

Richard Hurd: I think that’s gonna be a little bit of a difficult bar to reach, and it’s unlikely in my mind that labor will choose to endorse anybody.

If that’s the case, the AFL-CIO will allow its member unions to make their own endorsements.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.