Progressive journalist: Unions don’t want to ‘ruffle any feathers’ by endorsing in primary

Jacobin staff writer Branko Margetic said on Friday that many unions will shy away from endorsing Democratic presidential candidates until a front-runner emerges or the primary ends.

“I think unions are going to stay on the sidelines because the race is still pretty fluid,” Margetic, author of “Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden,” told Hill.TV. 

“Very few are willing to ruffle any feathers and come out for one candidate … As the race goes on, and clear front-runners emerge … you’ll start to see unions coming in and giving their endorsements,” Margetic added.

Multiple 2020 candidates have picked up notable union endorsements: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been backed by the American Postal Worker’s Union and National Nurses United, for example, while former Vice President Joe Biden has the support of the International Association of Firefighters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

This week, Nevada’s powerful Culinary Union declined to endorse any primary candidate before the state’s Feb. 22 caucuses.

“We will endorse our goals,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer said Thursday. “We’re not going to endorse a political candidate. We respect every single political candidate right now.”

The union’s decision not to endorse any candidate came after Sanders’s supporters bashed the union online for distributing flyers that said his “Medicare for All” proposal would “end culinary health care” by replacing private plans with government-run insurance.

The Culinary Union responded, calling the attacks “disappointing.”

Sanders addressed the vitriol, saying: “Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks.”

The Vermont senator is increasingly seen as the primary’s front-runner following his victory in the New Hampshire primary, while lackluster performances by Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire has left the former vice president trying to regain momentum as Super Tuesday approaches early next month.

Featured clips