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UAW to Endorse Presidential Candidate, not Trump

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United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams announced today that his union will endorse a Presidential candidate shortly. While declining to comment on who that candidate will be, Williams stated adamantly that the UAW will not endorse Donald T120906-UAWWheel_Rmark1rump. While the UAW has a history of endorsing Democratic candidates, Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding free trade and the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico has endeared him to many UAW members in recent months. Exit polls indicate that 28 percent of UAW members support Donald Trump for President, by far the highest of any Republican candidate.  Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee, has begun to shift his focus towards the general election and is courting the votes of union members who oppose recent free trade agreements that they say threaten American manufacturing. Trump has capitalized on the outrage surrounding President Bill Clinton’s support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump now either leads or is within striking distance o1200f Hillary Clinton in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota due in large part to opposition to NAFTA. UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, an outspoken Bernie Sanders supporter, has cited NAFTA as a major reason for her reluctance to support Hillary Clinton. The United Auto Workers have a membership of over 412,000 active workers and 1 million retirees. Regardless of which Democrat the union chooses to endorse, that candidate will benefit from the endorsement in the Rust Belt states while Donald Trump will likely retain support among many UAW members.




  1. platte16

    The UAW has amazing influence over public support. Candidates work hard to win their endorsement, which goes on to influence other voters with similar socioeconomic status and values. Although some members may support Trump now, I disagree that they will continue to support him after the UAW endorses a different candidate. Members take union politics and decisions seriously. Thus, if the UAW publicly endorses a different candidate, I believe the members will taken into consideration the Union’s reasoning and may adjust their opinions accordingly.

    May 20, 2016
    • An empirical question. I know the answer from 20 years ago, but since in Michigan most UAW members and their families live in the suburbs, what is the party composition there? Can the UAW deliver the votes?

      May 26, 2016
  2. hochstadtd18

    I’m not sure if this decision is truly coming from the workers themselves, but rather from the “head-honchos” at the UAW. Given his support, I feel like many individuals will support Mr. Trump regardless of the overall view of the union. To me it does not seem surprising that many of the workers like Mr. Trump as they are blue-collar workers who may be upset with their current situations and find his rhetoric appealing. While this is an interesting news story, I would be interested in hearing what OEM and suppliers alike have to say regarding their views on the race.

    May 20, 2016
  3. Sam Wilson
    Sam Wilson

    I agree with David on this one. I think that this support of the who ever runs against Trump is an executed decision by the more high up individuals at UAW. It is interesting how there has been more support for him among the workers than in previous elections. like the article suggested I think that this movement has to deal directly with Trump’s rhetoric about bringing jobs back to America. I am interested to see how this alignment shifts once we hit the real election season. If Trump continues this line and talks less about shutting down trade arrangements then I think that his numbers will increase in this poll. I Think part of what plays into his strength with this demographic is the fact that he is a businessman and these workers understand that or have it resonate with them. Things are definitely shaping up to make this an interesting election season.

    May 20, 2016
  4. siegels18

    I somewhat agree with what Sam and David are saying however, I think that the opinions of the Union leadership may be able to have an effect on the union members who they represent. The members certainly trust their leadership, so they might trust them enough to follow their political beliefs. This could be a significant portion of voters if many unions are against Trump, since 11.3% of the labor market participate in unions. Thoughts?

    May 20, 2016
  5. adamsm19

    One of the big take aways from this article that I read in the Detroit News was that rank and file UAW members are deeply mistrustful of union leadership. That explains in part why the UAW’s endorsement is not nearly as valuable as it was a generation ago. I think very few UAW Trump supporters will change their views based on the union’s endorsement of a Democrat. Instead, this could further alienate many autoworkers from their union.

    May 20, 2016
  6. Barrett Snyder
    Barrett Snyder

    Michael, nice to see individuals able to see through the corrupted leaders of their unions and make decisions for themselves. All to often union leaders exploit their member’s voting power for their own personal or political gain as they traditionally fall rank and file to their leader’s “wisdom.”

    May 20, 2016
    • I think if we’d actually met UAW people this time around you would not come away with the “corrupted leader” perspective [I just sat through a panel in Minneapolis with both a UAW and a Detroit Three labor negotiator]. The union leadership is convinced that TPP is a bad idea. Of course despite having been Secretary of State, Clinton is not making that part of her pitch, either. [On a day-to-day basis trade negotiations are handled by the US Trade Representative, part of the White House and not the Dept of State.]

      May 26, 2016

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