AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says he’s disappointed in President Obama’s trade effort and issued a warning to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a new interview published Thursday.
The powerful labor union — a frequent Democrat ally — has been a leading voice opposing Obama’s push for fast track trade authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The union argues it would hurt American workers.
“Our wages have been stagnant for too long it’s time to raise wages and this agreement will lower American wages,” Truck told USA Today in a video interview.
Last week the Senate passed fast track authority with mostly Republican votes and support from 13 Democrats, who Trumka charged “left their base.”
While Obama has been pushing for fast track, the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been coy about her position.
“She’s going to have to answer that,” Trumka told USA Today. “I think she won’t be able to go through a campaign without answering that and people will take it seriously and it will affect whether they vote for her or don’t vote for her.”
Should Clinton support the trade effort, Trumka warned, working people would take notice.
“It will be tougher to mobilize working people. It’ll be tougher to get them to come out excited and work to do door-knocking and leafleting and phone-banking and all the things that are going to be necessary if she is the candidate and we endorse her to get elected. It will make it far more difficult,” he said.
He added that it was even possible that the AFL-CIO might not endorse a presidential candidate in the 2016 cycle.
“That’s conceivable,” Trumka said. “If both candidates weren’t interested in raising wages and creating jobs.”
Trumka predicted fast track would fail in the House, with no more than 20 House Democrats voting for the measure.