Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has had a tough time gaining union support, but with an upcoming private meeting, she may soon have the chance to prove herself.
Source for Reuters say the meeting will be part of ongoing efforts by the AFL-CIO to determine whom to endorse for the 2016 presidential election. The union, like many throughout the labor movement, has been hesitant to back Hillary. This despite her being the frontrunner for the Democratic party.
The meeting is expected to take place during a union executive council gathering in Maryland between July 29 and 30.
The tilt away from Hillary boils down to President Barack Obama’s recent efforts on trade. Unions, hoping to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) an important campaign issue, have put pressure on Hillary to take a firm stance against the trade agenda. After a long delay, all unions got from her was a request for the president to work better with Democratic lawmakers.
Leadership within the AFL-CIO will get its chance to press her on trade and other lingering issues during the private meeting. It may also give Clinton the chance to defend her positions or lack thereof. The meeting could prove to be critically important for her.
Unions wield considerable political influence and are some of the most generous contributors during campaigns, especially to Democrats. If enough unions decide not to officially endorse Hillary, it could be devastating for her campaign.
Though the AFL-CIO seems to be giving Hillary the chance to prove herself, many within the labor movement have already given up on her. Outgoing Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen joined many smaller unions last week and endorsed self-proclaimed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. The retiring labor movement icon even said he plans to volunteer for his campaign.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, however, has warned against endorsing him. This despite Trumka also criticizing her over trade. In early June he sent a memo to the leaders of associated unions telling them not to endorse Sanders.
During its executive council gathering in Maryland, the union is also expected to meet separately with Hillary Democratic rivals Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Despite not yet demonstrating a strong position on trade, Hillary has still tried in other ways to court unions. She prominently showed off union-made gear in May during the official launch of her online campaign shop, and she urged people to stand firmly for unions during a speech in Chicago.
This report, by Connor D. Wolf, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.