Tags: edwards | labor

Big Labor Leaning to Edwards

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2007 02:25 PM

If the most sought after big labor union endorsement goes to any one of the current slate of Democratic presidential hopefuls, there's a good chance it may be former Sen. John Edwards.

Up for grabs is the endorsement of the 1.9 million member Service Employees International Union(S.E.I.U.), which the New York Times calls the single most coveted union endorsement.

According to the Times , Democratic candidates will be speaking at the S.E.I.U.’s political action conference at the Washington Hilton, where 1,500 of the union’s movers and shakers will soon gather. Two days later. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the union’s board will decide whether to endorse anyone at that time.

Union officials told the Times that Edwards has gone all out to persuade the S.E.I.U.’s top officials to endorse him, but cautioned that Hillary Clinton’s camp and Barack Obama’s camp are trying to throw roadblocks in his way to an endorsement.

The Times reported that two steps are required to persuade S.E.I.U.’s 60-person board to endorse a candidate.

First, board members representing 50 percent of the union locals that have members on the board have to agree that the union should make an endorsement.

Second, board members representing 60 percent of all the union’s overall membership have to agree on whom to endorse.

It is unclear whether any candidate will be able to surmount the 60-percent threshold, onion sources confided, noting that it may come down to whether Edwards — or another candidate — gives a rousing speech next Monday that sweeps the S.E.I.U.’s leaders and political activists off their feet.

One union official, however, told the Times that the union's leaders in California are strongly in favor of Edwards, but that many S.E.I.U. Leaders in Illinois and New York are enthusiastic about Obama and Clinton and oppose a union-wide endorsement of Mr. Edwards.

Democrats taking part are Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Hillary Clinton Clinton and John Edwards.

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