Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
By Michael Rose
Sept. 8 — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump isn’t very popular among union members, despite some common misconceptions, an AFL-CIO official told reporters Sept. 8.
“We really think it’s important for people to understand that Trump may have excited some union members more than previous Republican candidates, but he hasn’t extended the number of union members who support him, despite what he claims,” said Michael Podhorzer, AFL-CIO political director.
The labor federation said its most recent internal polling shows that support for Trump stands at 36 percent among union members in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, a figure that fell 5 percentage points since June.
Podhorzer also pointed to other polls that showed union members’ and union households’ support for Trump hovering around 35 percent. By comparison, he said, exit polls conducted in 2012 put then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at 41 percent support among union members, he said.
“There’s no basis for the idea that Trump is making inroads in the union community,” Podhorzer said. “Quite the contrary.”
It’s unusual for the AFL-CIO to release any individual data points from its polling of its members. But Podhorzer and Eric Hauser, the federation’s strategic communications director, at a roundtable with reporters said they wanted to counter a narrative that union members are defecting to Trump, drawn by his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and various other factors.
The AFL-CIO endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton in June. At the time, Trump released a statement saying the federation “has become part of the rigged system in Washington, D.C. that benefits only the insiders” and insisting that union members would support him. In July 2015, when the federation invited all declared presidential candidates of both parties to answer questionnaires and meet with its executive council, Trump declined to do so.
Although union officials concede that there have always been Republicans among rank-and-file union members and will continue to be, the difference between union members and voters who otherwise fit similar demographics who may vote for Trump is that union members receive a lot more information about Trump’s views on issues important to workers, Podhorzer said.
Voters who aren’t in unions who may like Trump “hear his rhetoric about trade deals, which resonates with people,” Podhorzer said. “But they don’t know that he outsources his production” of products bearing his name and has said that wages are “too high,” he said.
“That’s the difference between union members and their families, and other people in the working class,” Podhorzer said. In its targeting of union members over the next two months, the AFL-CIO will seek to highlight Trump’s record, he said.
Although many voters may be familiar with Donald Trump as a “figure in American cultural life” for several decades, Hauser said, “I believe Americans look at their presidential candidates differently than they look at other cultural icons.”
“Evaluating a presidential candidate” is different from deciding whether one “likes” Trump, Hauser said. “We think that as people really evaluate Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and a potential president, they will take a longer, deeper, harder look, and see that this is dangerous, not what I want, and bad for America.”
Podhorzer and Hauser also emphasized that in addition to highlighting what they see as Trump’s faults, they also are promoting the candidacy of Clinton. The federation’s top officers, including President Richard Trumka, will campaign on behalf of Clinton in battleground states in the coming weeks, they said.
The AFL-CIO also announced that Sept. 10 will be a “national day of action” during which it will mobilize thousands of union members and staff to campaign for Clinton and other candidates it supports by canvassing and phone-banking.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Rose in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)