Working families and our unions are just beginning to recover from 20 years of wage stagnation and membership decline and five years of pummeling by a mean-spirited United States Congress. In next year's elections, we will either solidify our gains and move forward to solve the urgent problems of America's working families, or we will slide back into the anti-working family era from which we just emerged.
The best opportunity to influence the outcome of the 2000 elections is through the early and full participation of working men and women, demanding that candidates address our need for a bigger share of our nation's prosperity. Our combined voices can put education and school modernization, affordable health care, quality child care, fair trade and the good jobs that build strong communities at the center of the debate.
We must begin now to project our voice: the 2000 election cycle is already well advanced. The issues that will drive decisions in November of next year are being shaped now, and the presidential nominees will be chosen by early March. Every week we delay the full involvement of working people in that process will lessen the impact of our views and voices.
We must begin now to get information to our members, and then motivate them to take part in an historic re-engagement of working families in our nation's political process. People power is the only way we can turn back the tide of corporate money that has swamped our political system. In 1998 corporate interests outspent us and our unions by more than 10-to-1. Next year the gap will be even greater, and the only way we can bridge it is with full mobilization now.
Unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO have been listening to our members through meetings and conventions and surveys. Some unions have concluded their internal processes already and have endorsed a candidate; others will be concluding their process in the coming months. While one candidate, Bill Bradley, has the respect of many and a good record, there is no question that Al Gore is the presidential candidate most favored, or that members support an endorsement of him at this time by an overwhelming margin. Our members' opinions--and our endorsement decision--are based not on party labels, but on candidates' values and positions and leadership on issues crucial to working families.
During his seven years in the Senate--where he represented a state in the heart of the anti-union South--Al Gore voted with working families and our unions 88 percent of the time. He has helped us protect workplace health and safety, community wage standards, Medicare and Social Security. He worked with us in defeating attempts to bring back company unions and to destroy the 40-hour week. And he stood with us in fending off "paycheck deception" initiatives that would have silenced the voice of working people in the political arena.
More than any other national leader, Al Gore has used the power of his office to defend the freedom of workers to choose a union free from interference by their employers, and he has repeatedly urged other elected officials to do the same.
Because he is a supporter of working families and a champion of our unions,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO endorses Al Gore for President of the United States;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this endorsement becomes effective upon a two-thirds vote of the Convention.