Tags: Barack Obama | Obama | unions | collective bargaining | Andy Stern | Service Employees International Union | Raul Grijalva

Obama Shifting Course on Union Rhetoric

Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 03:12 PM

President Barack Obama is rethinking his initial decision to publicly back unions in their battles with Republican governors, fearing too vocal a stance could hurt him in other areas, The Wall Street Journal reports. The president now wants to reassert his post-partisan image and save political capital for bipartisan budget negotiations and courting business leaders.
Liberals are divided over the move. Some said the reawakened labor movement is better off being perceived as an authentic grass-roots uprising instead of a White House-directed campaign.
“I don’t think the president’s involvement in making this a Republican and Democrat issue would be particularly helpful at this point,” said Andy Stern, a former president of the Service Employees International Union.
But others said Obama should play to his natural union base. “There’s a bully pulpit there that the president has, and it needs to be used,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Republican and co-chairman of the House Progressive Caucus.

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