February 01, 2005

AFL-CIO Will Make No Endorsement In DNC Chair Race

The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education announced today that it will issue no formal endorsement of a candidate for Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), choosing instead to issue a statement of principles it would urge any elected DNC Chair to adopt.

Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who chaired the meeting, said of the decision, “The most important thing for Democrats to do is to work together to challenge this administration on behalf of all Americans on such issues as Social Security, health care and education.

“All the candidates for DNC chair are more than qualified to lead the party and to reach out to all Americans about the issues that unite us."

In lieu of a formal endorsement from the Committee, endorsement decisions will be left to the individual unions.

The committee, which consists of 23 members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, met this morning. The group did issue endorsements of AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) for DNC Vice-Chair positions.

In its statement, the AFL-CIO urged the DNC to support the concerns of working Americans “forcefully and consistently,” noting that:

* Issues of economic security and justice – health care, secure retirements, secure jobs and decent wages -- are of preeminent concern to working families, who simply want the opportunity to work hard and provide for ourselves and our families. The DNC should convey a viable plan to create and sustain real jobs that provide good wages and access to quality healthcare.

* Education and mobilization of activists across the country must happen at the grassroots level, where voters live and work. The DNC must rebuild its infrastructure at the base, strengthening state parties and engaging new voters while actively ensuring diversity at all levels. The DNC should work together with allied organizations striving to increase grassroots participation around a working families’ agenda.

* The freedom of workers to join together into unions for collective bargaining is a fundamental human and civil right, and a cornerstone of economic security for working Americans. The DNC must demonstrate its commitment to restoring and protecting workers’ freedom to organize by publicly stating its strong support for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and committing its leadership to endorse EFCA in Congress.

Contact:  Christy Setzer