Clinton pledges support for union rights
 
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to name longtime aide Blinken as secretary of State: report Understanding mixed results in Pennsylvania key to future elections What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? MORE on Saturday delivered a forceful defense of labor unions, promising “a strong commitment to supporting unions and the right to organize.”
 
“I will support collective bargaining,” she pledged in Charleston, S.C. To make her point, she referenced a local unionization battle at a Charleston Boeing plant.
 
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“They are fighting for the right organize free from intimidation and harassment, because those rights are central to building the middle class, and we need to stand up to a tax on workers’ rights,” she said.
 
Clinton broadly panned efforts to reduce the ability to workers to bargain collectively.
 
“I know that in this state, there is a big effort led from the top, going throughout your government, to dismantle collective bargaining rights,” she said. 
 
“I've got to tell you, you still have a lot of really poor people in South Carolina who need good jobs with rising wages and safe working conditions,” Clinton added.
 
“And yes, I know South Carolina’s a so-called ‘right to work’ state, but you still should have the right to have somebody looking out for your best interests when it comes to your job.”
 
Before an enthusiastic crowd, Clinton noted that the founders had built checks on authority into the government. 
 
“We need the same balance of power within our economy,” she said. “And that’s one of the reasons why unions have to be at the table.”
 
Her comments came at a rally hosted by the International Longshoremen's Association. The union endorsed her candidacy this week.
 
Clinton’s support for unions is part of a larger campaign theme of leveling the economic playing field. It’s a progressive message that seems in part designed to win over supporters of figures like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
 
It’s also become an important part of her platform as she faces off against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has drawn large crowds to rallies with his rousing speeches in defense of economic populism.
 
In her speech Saturday, Clinton also highlighted her support for criminal justice reform. 
 
She called herself a “staunch advocate for reforming our criminal justice system and ending the era of mass incarceration.”