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By Michael Rose
July 26 — Six leaders of organized labor addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia late July 25, denouncing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and urging support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump thinks he's a “tough guy,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told convention delegates. “Donald, you're no tough guy,” Trumka said. “You're a phony.”
Clinton, meanwhile, “is fighting to rewrite the economic rules for all of us” and “has a bold plan to invest in manufacturing, infrastructure and jobs,” Trumka said.
The delegates also heard from leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the Service Employees International Union; the American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; and North America's Building Trades Unions.
All of those groups have endorsed Clinton for president, as have the majority of U.S. labor unions. At least two unions that previously endorsed Bernie Sanders—the Communications Workers of America and the National Union of Healthcare Workers—also have shifted their endorsement to Clinton. The NUHW announced its change of endorsement July 26.
AFT President Randi Weingarten called last week's Republican National Convention “a festival of fear.”
“Every day [of the Republican convention] was full of hate and bigotry,” Weingarten said. “Why? To hide that Trump's plans, like many of his businesses, are completely bankrupt.”
The Trump campaign didn't respond to Bloomberg BNA's request for comment July 26.
Meanwhile, in a separate conference call with reporters July 26, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said he was “shocked” by what he had seen during the Republican convention.
“We'll be working very hard” to support Clinton in the upcoming election, Williams said. “The unions I communicate with are all unified in electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States,” he said.
He mentioned specifically that he had spoken with James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is the only major union not to have made a presidential endorsement.
The Ohio Conference of Teamsters, however, announced July 25 that it had endorsed Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), for re-election.
Asked by Bloomberg BNA about that endorsement, Williams called it “a disagreement.”
“We will just have this disagreement among two labor unions that work together most of the time,” Williams said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time we work together, but every so often we disagree.”
Williams was a featured speaker at the Teamsters convention last month and spoke of the many things the two unions had in common.
During a previous roundtable with reporters in May, Williams said internal polling among UAW members showed that 28 percent of them supported Trump for president. During the latest call, he said that figure likely had declined.
“Trump has the ability to get everybody saying that he 'just tells it like it is,' but when people start questioning what it is he really said, they start thinking about how he is, and what he’s done in a divisive way, and they start leaning toward the Democratic candidate,” Williams said.
Williams estimated that the share of UAW members who were Trump supporters likely had declined to around 18 percent or 19 percent.
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Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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