This is a very disappointing choice for everybody enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. It’s not often that there is a candidate as consistent, supportive, and trustworthy on labor issues, and even willing to walk picket lines himself for labor’s cause. Sanders is an ideological safehaven for the working man and for labor rights and I believe it would have been a more respectable decision to wait — to wait until Bernie stepped out of the race, or to wait until he pulled Hillary futher into labor’s corner. It would have been even more respectable to show true leadership in endorsing the strongest candidate for labor, Senator Sanders, and educating the membership as to why that’s the case. Endorsing Clinton, like you did in 2007, is misguided. Endorsing her this early is a shot in the foot for AFSCME and a shot in the back at Bernie Sanders. Now you have two huge factions of AFSCME disagreeing with you — the conservative blue collar constituancy who thinks Hillary Clinton is a she-devil from hell as well as the Bernie Sanders supporters who cannot fathom why you would back the weaker candidate for labor. This is at a time when AFSCME members all over the country and organized labor in general are facing very difficult struggles. This is a time when real leadership needs to energize the cause once more and not simply settle for more establishment politics that promise union members nothing substantial and nothing tangible. Don’t you think it would be difficult for Hillary to truly support the needs of middle class labor while raking in millions of dollars from Wall Street and K Street supporters? It’s very concerning to me. I hope this union can once again find its soul, passion, and energy, otherwise its short-sighted, apathetic, and aging leadership is going to continue walking us straight into extinction.
-Conor Meara, AFSCME Council 73