Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton: A Powerful Combo for the Union Vote

The media has reported sporadically that some labor union members have broken from decades of allegiance with the Democratic Party in favor of Donald Trump for President of the United States. These blue collar Democrats, many in Ohio, are drawn to Trump’s ability to say what he wants, what he means, and to tell it like it is – values labor has always believed in. Formal endorsements tell a different story, though. Every major union or progressive organization that let its members have a vote endorsed Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, all of Hillary Clinton’s major group endorsements come from organizations where the leaders decide. This appears to be an example of Clinton’s powerful appeal to the Democratic Party’s elite, even as support for Sanders explodes among the rank and file.

For example, the one major labor union that did allow for a vote was the Communications Workers of America. CWA followed a three-month process that included meetings with members, telephone town halls, and an online polling process. “We conducted an online membership poll from mid-September to early December,” said CWA spokesperson Candice Johnson in a statement to The Intrepid. “Tens of thousands of members voted in the poll, with Sanders getting a decisive majority.” Johnson noted that CWA did not endorse in 2008 because it followed the same process and the three leading Democratic candidates all received around the same proportion of votes.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at