The nation’s largest
federation of labor unions is preparing to endorseHillary
Clintonfor president next week, giving her campaign a
boost from one of the Democratic Party’s key constituencies and turning away
from Bernie Sanders, a candidate many in labor said embodied more of unions’
The AFL-CIO’s decision to
move toward an endorsement of Mrs. Clinton before Mr. Sanders has competed in
the final Democratic primary next week in Washington, D.C., underscores the
belief among union activists that Mrs. Clinton has locked up the nomination,
and shows the urgency many in labor feel of unifying the party and defeatingDonald
The AFL-CIO’s political committee held a conference
call Friday during which they voted to recommend to the general board that the
federation endorse Mrs. Clinton, according to a person familiar with the call.
The board is expected to agree, as nearly 80% of the union officials who hold a
seat lead unions that have already endorsed Mrs. Clinton.
Though the political committee’s vote to recommend
an endorsement occurred on Friday, the AFL-CIO is not expected to officially
announce the endorsement until next Thursday at the earliest, the person
familiar with the call said. The political committee is chaired by Lee
Saunders, the president of the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees, which threw its weight behind Mrs. Clinton months ago.
The AFL-CIO endorsement could give Mrs. Clinton
powerful support from union members and their families. Unions spend tens of
millions of dollars on elections, mostly to back Democrats, and make millions
of phone calls and visits to members’ homes and worksites to encourage them to
When the nation’s top union officials huddled at an AFL-CIO executive
council meeting in February, they
decided to put off making an endorsement of any presidential candidate, a
relief for Mr. Sanders’s campaign and a disappointment for Mrs. Clinton’s. Mrs.
Clinton had already received the lion’s share of national-union endorsements
that had been made at that point, but AFL-CIO PresidentRichard
Trumkasaid union leaders would not be voting at that time
on who to back for the oval office.
It wasn’t clear whether the group had failed to reach the level of support it
needed to endorse a candidate at that time, or whether it chose to delay
because of splits among, and between, some union leaders and rank-and-file
members about who to back.
That could benefit labor unions that care deeply
about such issues, and will help them garner votes for the candidate heading
Still, union officials
remain concerned that Mr. Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, is appealing to
their members. They’re waging campaigns to counter that by depictingMr. Trump as an anti-worker candidate.