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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 20, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 47
Clinton racks up big endorsements
Section One
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Clinton racks up big endorsements

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Hillary Clinton won two big endorsements this week, getting the support of Jim Obergefell, plaintiff in the historic marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, on November 16 and the endorsement of the huge Service Employees International Union (SEIU) the next day.

'I refuse to let Republicans undo the progress that we've made, and that is why we need Hillary Clinton in the White House, because she will be by our side as we break down barriers and finally reach full equality for all,' Obergefell said in a statement.

SEIU, which represents two million members, endorsed Clinton despite a public letter circulated by a big Oregon SEIU local asking union leadership to wait and see how the campaign develops before turning their backs on Clinton's main rival, Bernie Sanders.

'We do worry about the message it will send if SEIU backs the establishment candidate over a staunch labor ally in this primary,' the letter read. 'It will tell our true friends that SEIU won't have their backs when they stand up for us.'

Nevertheless, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry insisted on lining up with Clinton.

'Hillary Clinton has proven she will fight, deliver and win for working families,' Henry said in a statement. 'This movement for economic, racial, immigrant and social justice is poised to turn out to vote in November with their families and communities and keep pushing elected officials to deliver once in office.'

To date, Clinton has won endorsements from three big public sector unions - the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), which together boast 4.6 million members, as well as the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSMCE).

In addition, Clinton has won the endorsements of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) and the International Association of Machinists (IAM), who represent Boeing workers, among others.

Sanders has gotten the endorsements of National Nurses United (NNU) and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). APWU President Mark Dimondstein said Sanders 'stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.'

Larry Cohen, former president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), has joined the Sanders campaign as a full-time volunteer in large part because Clinton supported fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Although Clinton has since backtracked and no longer supports the TPP, Cohen says Sanders has had the correct position from the beginning.

Cohen also helped launch Labor for Bernie, a group of rank-and-file union activists. The group has tried to slow union endorsements for Clinton. Cohen said that regardless of how unions endorse a candidate, he hopes union leadership will give members the freedom to campaign for whomever they want.

The third Democratic presidential hopeful, Martin O'Malley, has yet to win a major union endorsement.

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