Orlando, FL, August 30, 2007 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), one of the nation’s largest and most politically active trade unions, is endorsing New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton for President. The 700,000-member IAM also took the unusual step of endorsing a Republican candidate for the primaries, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
The decision to endorse a candidate for the Democratic and Republican primaries follows extensive polling of IAM members and a ‘Conversation with the Candidates’ event in Orlando, Florida, where candidates from both parties discussed their vision for the country and the role of the U.S. labor movement.
“Hillary Clinton earned the IAM’s endorsement by focusing on jobs, health care, education and trade – the bread and butter issues of the American middle class,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “She is the only candidate of either party to come forward with a comprehensive manufacturing policy and the only candidate to connect with millions of Americans who feel invisible to the current administration.”
Buffenbarger also praised the former Arkansas Republican Governor, who addressed the IAM National Staff Conference this week. “Mike Huckabee was the only Republican candidate with the guts to meet with our members and the only one willing to figure out where and how we might work together,” said Buffenbarger. “He is entitled to serious consideration from our members voting in the upcoming Republican primaries.”
According to a recent survey of Machinists Union members, one-third votes Republican and two-thirds vote Democratic. “The dual endorsement is intended to involve all IAM members in the upcoming election,” said Buffenbarger. “It is fitting for the union whose early members gave birth to Labor Day to reach beyond traditional partisan boundaries to establish new relationships for the benefit of all working Americans.
“In collective bargaining, we look for partners who will work with us, strategic partners with whom we can cultivate common ground over the arc of time,” said Buffenbarger.
The endorsements will trigger a massive education campaign among IAM members and extensive publicity in union publications and websites nationwide. Twenty-five states with over 450,000 active and retired IAM members will vote in the three weeks starting with the Iowa caucuses and ending with the polls closing in California on February 5th.