Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Where Will Edwards' Union Support Go?

John Edwards, who has quit the Presidential race, had the largest bloc of union support of any candidate. His supporters included the USW, the CWA, the SEIU, the Carpenters, and UMWA. Edwards' advisors are suggesting he will not back either of his competitors. However, what about his union backers? Where will organized labour’s support go?

Obama has the support of UNITE HERE and Clinton has the support of AFSCME. If the unions that coalesced around Edwards move as a bloc towards one candidate, it could be enough to put either candidate over the top. Stay tuned.


Mushroom said...

Obama's recent endorsement from UNITE HERE is huge. This meant that a critical part of the Change to Win alliance (Teamsters, SEIU, UFCW) which Edwards had the support of went to Obama after his Iowa caucus win. Andy Stern of SEIU will take his followers to Obama full stop.

What you are seeing now is the hardening of two hard factions within the Democrats. Traditionalists (AFL-CIO and NOW) siding with Clinton and service workers (Change to Win) going with Obama. The result will have a major change in the political left in Canada.

uncorrectedproofs said...

What change do you forsee for the political left in Canada? I guess I don't see the connection.

Mushroom said...

Note that the Canadian Auto Workers is now supporting the Grits instead of the NDP. Having a major private sector union on Dion's side would weaken Layton somewhat. It also helps Dion's reputation as a progressive and social liberal.

Buzz is not an easy figure to like and I hope that the CAW would modernize itself once he is gone. However, he deserves credit for breaking the traditional ties between organized labour and the NDP. Transforming the CAW into a European social unionist organization, as in its agreement with Magna, signals the way how the left will need to organize and mobilize in Canada.