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AFL-CIO Frees
Unions to Endorse

One day after sponsoring a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates, the leaders of the nation's largest labor organziation have apparently made their decision: They can't decide.

The executive council of the AFL-CIO released a statement today that reveals the federation will not immediately endorse any of the Democratic presidential candidates.

"It is clear that a number of the Democratic candidates have the experience and the credentials to lead our nation," the statement says. "And it is equally clear that our members support a number of the candidates -- union members have told us all the candidates are impressive and they are eager to support many of them. For this reason, the AFL-CIO has decided not to proceed with a decision process that would lead to support for a single candidate at this time."

To obtain the AFL-CIO endorsment, a candidate would need to win the support of more than two-thirds of the federation's 55 unions -- something that is unlikely to happen given how competitive this year's primary has become. But yesterday's announcement gives a green light to individual unions to begin endorsing on their own, and they will start to do so as early as next month. Sen. John Edwards, in particular, has been pressing several unions for support, including the powerful Steelworkers, which could be one of the first to back him.
As for the AFL-CIO, the statement says that "At a later date, the executive council will decide if the AFL-CIO should endorse a candidate for president."

-- Matthew Mosk

By Post Editor  |  August 8, 2007; 4:14 PM ET
 
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