AFL-CIO Executive Council Action
Presidential Endorsement Policy Statement
August 06, 2003
Chicago, Ill.
America’s workers and their families are increasingly fearful for their economic future and are less and less confident that our nation is headed in the right direction.  They have seen millions of jobs disappear under the Bush Administration’s economic policies, seen huge tax cuts for wealthy Americans and have witnessed further erosion of their economic security.  Important issues such as retirement security, health care and education have gone unaddressed.  America’s workers support the president in his war on terrorism, but are concerned about the direction of the Administration’s foreign policy.  They do not see, in President Bush, a champion for their interests.

The American labor movement believes that a change must be made in the direction of our nation—away from Enron economics and back to a people-focused government, where the interests of common people are at the center of public policy.

President Bush, assuming office without a mandate, has nonetheless governed as if there were widespread support for his conservative direction.  Extreme political positions have crowded out even the moderates in his own party, and an ideologically driven White House has sought every opportunity to attack the American labor movement.  No previous Republican Administration has ever been this malicious or more determined to undermine unions and seek advantage for corporate America.  The AFL-CIO regrets that the Republican Party has taken these extreme steps that have resulted in the alienation of their supporters among union leaders.  Never has the labor movement been more united in opposition to a sitting president.

Challenging the President on these issues are a group of political leaders who all share a different vision of America than does President Bush.  Each of them has laid out a vision for America that is focused first and foremost on average working people.  All have sought support from working people in their efforts to become the nominee of their party.

Among these current presidential candidates are many who have long relationships with the labor movement and who have been champions of the interests of America’s workers and their families.  We applaud their devotion to their country and to public service in seeking the nomination of their party. Union members are examining the records of these candidates and their proposals for meeting the challenges our nation is facing.  Over the coming weeks and months, they will be making decisions about who would be the best advocate for their families and for their future.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council encourages its affiliated unions to continue the extensive member education and outreach that has begun and to take steps to ascertain if there is a broad consensus in support of individual candidates.  Because of the political calendar, any decision to endorse a candidate prior to the party nomination elections would need to be done by mid-fall.  The Executive Council authorizes the president of the AFL-CIO to consult with union leadership and, if there is suitable consensus in favor of one of the candidates, to issue a call for a General Board meeting no later than October 15th consider a possible endorsement.