Labor cutting back support for the Democratic Party


This has been the president's summer of discontent. Progressives are unhappy with the way he handled the debt ceiling. Unions are worried about his support for free trade agreements.

Thursday, the president of the AFL-CIO announced, "You're going to see us give less money to build structures for others and more of our money will be used to build our own structure."

In other words, less money and support for the political structure of the Democratic Party.

"I look and I see all these puppets, talking heads, 'I'm going to do this for you I'm going to do that for you,'" AC Transit bus driver and AFL-CIO member Milton Smith said.

Smith agrees with the union president the Democratic Party hasn't delivered.

"Forget all the rhetoric, forget all the talking, OK, lets drop the talk and let's do something now," Smith said.

Transit dispatcher and union member Sandra Lee says politicians won't stand up for unions if they think it will cost them votes.

"I don't think anyone is doing much of a job these days," Lee said.

At a gathering of Democratic members of Congress in the East Bay, ABC7 asked Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. John Garamendi and Rep. George Miller about the AFL-CIO announcement.

"Well, I too have reservations, particularly about the Columbian and Peru agreements," McNerney said.

Both McNerney and Garamendi answered the union support question the same way.

"Let's be very clear about it, this Democrat, along with the local delegation here, do not support those trade agreements," Garamendi said.

Miller says he's not afraid of losing union support.

"No, I'm not afraid, that's not my decision making process," Miller said.

And the Democratic leader in the House says it's the union's decision and she wishes them well.

"And I know that the focus on jobs is important to the American people, so I wish them well in that endeavor and look forward to working for job creation," Rep. Nancy Pelosi said.

The AFL-CIO president says the union federation will form its own political action committee and give money to candidates of its own choosing and you can bet "What have you done for me lately?" will be a question Democratic politicians will be hearing more in the year to come.

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