President Obama with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in August 2010. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
The AFL-CIO endorsed President Obama on Tuesday, with the federation's endorsement following those of several of its individual unions. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement:
President Obama honors the values of hard work, of mutual respect, and of solving problems together—not every person for himself or herself. He believes that together we will get through the most challenging economic crisis in memory and restore opportunity for all. Each of the Republican presidential candidates, on the other hand, has pledged to uphold the special privileges of Wall Street and the 1%--privileges that have produced historic economic inequality and drowned out the voices of working people in America.
Trumka's endorsement statement notes that "the labor movement has sometimes differed with the president and often pushed his administration to do more and do it faster," but continues that "we have never doubted his commitment to working families" and specifically cites moves like Wall Street reform, health insurance reform, the rescue of the auto industry, and Obama's emphasis on manufacturing.
Unions will not attempt to counter groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads on the air; instead, calling the labor movement "the original social network," they'll focus on mobilizing members not just to vote themselves but to volunteer to reach out to non-union voters both in organized canvasses and, as AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Podhorzer said at a pre-endorsement news briefing, "beyond the workplace to the neighborhoods, to the Elks Club, to the gun club to the churches. Everywhere."