D E T R O I T, Aug. 8 -- The United Auto Workers union todaydecided to overlook its dissatisfaction with Vice President AlGore’s support for normal trade relations with China and endorsethe Democrat for president.
The Detroit-based union, with 1.3 million active and retiredmembers mostly in key electoral states in the Midwest, said itsInternational Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse Gore.
UAW President Stephen Yokich said in May the union might backGreen Party candidate Ralph Nader, but said today the consumeradvocate did not have a chance to win the election.
“During the course of this campaign we have taken a long,hard look at the presidential candidates’ positions and theirprograms for America’s future,” Yokich said in a statement.“While two candidates have offered progressive, pro-workingfamily programs, it is clear that only one of the progressivecandidates can win this election — and that’s Al Gore.”
“The UAW will go all-out to help Al Gore win thiselection,” he said.
Tradition of Democratic Endorsements
The UAW, a powerful industrial union, has endorsed theDemocratic candidate over the Republican candidate for decades.Its announcement came on the same day Gore named ConnecticutSen. Joseph Lieberman, a strong advocate of pro-labor issues,his vice presidential candidate.
UAW officials would not saywhether that move helped Gore secure the nomination, saying onlythat the statement spoke for itself.
Yokich said Gore was on the UAW’s side on the economy,workers’ rights, education, the Social Security retirementprogram and Medicare health care program for the elderly, theenvironment and other issues of concern to working families.
He also expressed hope that Gore, as president, would seekto outlaw the use of permanent striker replacements.
“Al Gore believes that unions play an essential role in theeconomic and political life of America,” Yokich said. “Unlike[Republican nominee] George W. Bush, Al Gore understands thatour economy works best when working men and women have a realsay in the work place.”