AFL-CIO Blinks

During the health care debate, the union bosses of the AFl-CIO made bold threats to House Democrats — vote against ObamaCare and we will sit on our hands during your re-election battle.  As Miss Emily Letella on Saturday Night Live used to say, “Nevermind.”

With many of their congressional water carriers struggling for their political lives, the AFL-CIO backed of their threat putting power before principle. The Hill reports:

The AFL-CIO released its first round of mailers in support of endangered Democrats this week. In it, the union sought to bolster Rep. Zack Space’s (D-Ohio) campaign with literature attacking his Republican opponent.

Space was the lone Democrat from Ohio’s congressional delegation to vote against the healthcare bill, and his position enraged labor groups.

But he’s not the only lawmaker who voted against the legislation to see union support trickle back his way.

An affiliate group of the AFL-CIO, Working America, has endorsed Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.). And several unions, such as the New York State Public Employees Federation and United Federation of Teachers, have endorsed Rep. Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.).

The healthcare bill was a major item on labor’s legislative agenda. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka went to Capitol Hill to personally lobby members on the issue ahead of the March vote. As worries grew there wouldn’t be enough votes for passage, unions threatened Democratic lawmakers with primary challenges and non-support during the general election.

But of the 34 Democrats who voted against the bill, none of them running for reelection lost in primaries this cycle.

Larry Scanlon, political director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), told The Hill he sees more labor support coming for Democrats who voted against the bill due to concerns about the party losing control of the House