Democratic candidates for the American presidency are eager to get endorsement from services union SEIU. The union is expected to spend 70 million dollar on the election campaign and to mobilise 100,000 volunteers.
“After the union said it would not consider endorsing anyone who did not put forward a plan for universal health coverage, all the leading Democratic candidates produced one. When it demanded that the candidates spend a day in the shoes of a worker, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton did so, all spending a day with a health care worker”, New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse reported.
At the national level, the union has not yet endorsed a candidate, but eleven state councils support John Edwards.
American unions are highly effective at ‘get-out-the-vote’ campaigns, both in local and in national elections. Such campaigns frequently affect the election outcome. However, SEIU’s Andy Stern said that too often, candidates make promises to get union support, only to break those promises after having been elected.
SEIU therefore wants to focus more on holding elected candidates accountable. For example, in Chicago city council elections it supported candidates who challenged council members who had failed to support retail workers.