Communications workers endorse Obama

WASHINGTON (PAI) - The Communications Workers' executive board voted Jan. 31 to endorse President Obama for re-election this fall. CWA President Larry Cohen made the announcement just before introducing Vice President Joe Biden to the union's legislative-political conference in Washington.

The endorsement was not unexpected. In conference calls among union activists every two weeks and online since last summer, the CWA had asked its members to cast electronic ballots in the presidential race. The results were 66 percent for Obama, 20 percent for an unnamed Republican nominee, and 14 percent neutral or undecided, Communications Director Candice Johnson said. She did not have raw vote totals.

CWA becomes the latest large union to commit to Obama's re-election. Others include the United Food and Commercial Workers and Service Employees International Union. Steelworkers President Leo Gerard endorsed Obama in his keynote address to his union's convention last year.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council, which includes both Cohen and Gerard, is expected to issue a formal presidential endorsement by its March meeting in Florida. SEIU and UFCW are Change To Win unions. That organization has yet to endorse.

CWA's statement praised Obama but also took hard shots at the current GOP leader, former Massachusetts Governor and Bain Capital CEO Mitt Romney.

"On the issues that matter most to working people, President Obama is on our side," the statement said. "We need leaders who recognize that income inequality and wage declines are serious problems that must be solved," as Obama does, it added.

By contrast, the GOP candidates, including Romney, "made clear working families should be on their own" on a whole host of issues. And Romney, while heading Bain, "parachuted in" to take over firms, take big profits "and put average Americans out of work." CWA reminded listeners that Romney recently said, "I like to fire people."

The bad GOP record "is especially true" on workers' rights, the union stated. "No Republican candidate stood up for the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively.  Judge Romney by the company he keeps: New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie, who set out to strip CWA public workers of their bargaining rights, is one of Romney's biggest supporters."

CWA, in closing, promised to work to re-elect Obama and "members of Congress who support the growing movement to restore democracy in the U.S." Cohen spent much of the legislative conference pounding the podium against what he called "corpocracy" - the takeover of the U.S. political process by unlimited, secret corporate campaign contributions, legalized by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010.

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