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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Candidate Quotes from AFSCME Presidential Endorsement Meetings

This week, members of our International Executive Board board met with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Governor Martin O’Malley, and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Washington, D.C. — 

AFSCME began its 2016 presidential endorsement process this week by meeting with several announced candidates for president. Endorsement questionnaires were sent to Republican and Democratic candidates, and those candidates who returned completed questionnaires were invited to meet with AFSCME’s International Executive Board. This week, members of our board met with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Governor Martin O’Malley, and Senator Bernie Sanders. The candidates’ remarks and conversations with the board included the following highlights:


Governor Martin O’Malley:

“Unions have been a bulwark against what otherwise would have been the end of America’s middle class.”

“There are several things we can do to keep wages tracking more closely with productivity – one of those is growing union membership, and making it easier rather than harder to collectively bargain.”

“As I campaign and forge a new consensus here, part of what we have to do as a party is remind people and teach people what it’s going to take to rebuild our middle class, and union membership is a big part of that.” 

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“I believe that when unions are strong, America is strong. And I say that because it is a historic fact. And it’s an economic reality.” 

“The history is clear: The great American middle class was built largely by workers exercising their right to organize and to bargain collectively for higher wages and better conditions. When more workers were in unions, more workers were in the middle class. That’s just a fact, and I will be talking about that during this campaign.”

“At a time when those at the top have so many advantages, unions provide balance to our economy and a boost to everyday Americans, and we’re all therefore better off. I’ve said this all over the country. I will keep saying it.”

Senator Bernie Sanders:

“Taking on the billionaire class, making sure we have a tax system that asks the wealthiest and large corporations to pay their fair share, a system that guarantees higher education for all young people, a system that expands Social Security and doesn’t cut it, a political system that fights to join the rest of the industrialized world with health care for all people, a $15 an hour minimum wage, a system that makes it easier for workers to join unions. All of those ideas mean nothing if there is not a mass movement behind those ideas. And that movement is going to have to be led by the trade union movement, which I look forward to working with.”

AFSCME will continue to keep an open dialogue with candidates from both parties. Our process will be thorough and democratic, and the voices and priorities of our 1.6 million members across the country will determine the outcome.

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