AFL-CIO to host presidential forum

AFL-CIO to host presidential forum
© Greg Nash

The AFL-CIO announced Tuesday it will host a presidential forum next year as the crowded field of Democratic primary contenders battles it out for support from labor groups. 

The AFL-CIO said the forum will take place on March 12, 2020, in Orlando, Fla., a critical general election swing state that will also have its primary contest a week later.

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“On Thursday, March 12, 2020, working people will have the opportunity to hear directly from the 2020 presidential candidates at a forum hosted by the AFL-CIO in Orlando, Florida,” the group said in a statement. “The forum is the week before the Florida primary, and will offer a chance for candidates to tell workers why they should earn their vote.”

The announcement comes as Democratic presidential candidates contend for support from labor groups after working class voters that historically voted Democrat flipped for President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE in 2016.

Several candidates’ campaigns have rolled out plans to empower unions and strengthen protections for workers, and many contenders have made highly publicized appearances with striking workers across the nation. Staffers on a handful of campaigns have also themselves unionized.

While the AFL-CIO has not endorsed any candidate in the 2020 race, it has clashed with Trump over the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) and his handling of the burgeoning trade war with China.

“An unenforceable trade deal is a windfall for corporations and a disaster for workers,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said last month of the proposed USMCA. 

Tacking trade issues with China "has to be a multilateral approach,” he added. “One country can’t take on China.”