The election of Donald Trump, while very disturbing, should not come as a complete shock. For the past several decades the political establishment in both parties has advanced a set of policies known as neoliberalism that has made life harder for working people. Neoliberalism includes free trade, deregulation, privatization, and dismantling the social safety net, and it has been pursued aggressively by Republican administrations since Reagan, and Democratic administrations starting with Bill Clinton. This election year brought rebellion in both parties against what Bernie Sanders called “establishment politics and establishment economics.” That rebellion took the form, in the Democratic primaries, of the inclusive progressive populism of Sanders, and on the Republican side, the authoritarian, bigoted populism of Trump.
In its 80-year history, UE has made only seven endorsements of candidates for president of the United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt twice, Lyndon B. Johnson, George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders.
What was behind these endorsements, and what’s behind the longer list of non-endorsements?
The late Roy Cohn, an unscrupulous New York lawyer and power broker, was Donald Trump’s mentor for 13 years during his rise to celebrity status. Cohn helped shape the Trump we see today, and from him Trump learned his signature tactics of attack; insult; manipulate the media; never back down; never apologize or admit you were wrong; and when you have nothing to attack with, make stuff up.
At its September 22-23 meeting at the union's national headquarters in Pittsburgh, UE's General Executive Board discussed and adopted the following statement on the 2016 presidential election.
UE General Executive Board Statement on the 2016 Presidential Election
The UE National Officers today issued the following statement in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux people of North Dakota in their struggle to protect their land and water from the oil industry.
UE joins others in the labor movement in condemning the ongoing violent attacks on the Standing Rock Sioux nation and others who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. These attacks by a private security company bring back horrific memories of the notorious Pinkertons, who used clubs, dogs and bullets to break up peaceful worker protests.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reaffirmed its dismissal an unfair labor practice charge brought by an Israeli law firm against a U.S. union, the United Electrical Workers, over its support of protests against Israeli policies including the union’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) movement.
At its meet at UE's national headquarters in late May, the union's General Executive Board adopted a resolution opposing the ongoing coup against the democratic pro-labor government of Brazil.
DEFEND DEMOCRACY AND THE WORKING PEOPLE OF BRAZIL
Statement of the UE General Executive Board
The United, Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), which represents 35,000 private and public sector workers throughout the U.S., has voted to endorse Bernie Sanders for President. The endorsement was approved, without opposition, by rank-and-file local delegates from the union’s three regions (Western, Northeast, and Eastern) over the past six weeks.
UE has issued a leaflet comparing the two leading candidates in the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, on major issues of concern to union members.
Delegates to UE’s 74th International Convention in August adopted a resolution titled “Independent Rank-and-File Political Action.” It briefly describes the political attacks on labor and how workers have been fighting back. It says this about candidates:
There were some good ideas in President Obama’s final State of the Union address, but the idea that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help our economy wasn’t one of them. TPP would send more jobs overseas to low wage countries, and allow multinational corporations to overturn our environmental and safety laws.
Please click on this link, then enter your zip code to send a message to your member of Congress and your U.S. Senators, telling them to VOTE NO on TPP.