AFGE Local 2139 Executive Committee:
The 2016 United States Presidential campaign will dominate the news through at least November 8. You can call me Captain Obvious. Next Tuesday, the people of Iowa will be the first to choose delegates to this summer's major party conventions.
As an AFL-CIO affiliate, AFGE Local 2139 is bound by decisions made at varying levels within organized labor. Political endorsements are no exception. I will describe how these work, how they apply to Local 2139, and how our Local and its officers will go forward.
All AFL-CIO unions are supposed to follow the lead of the AFL-CIO in endorsing candidates for United States President and Vice President. As of this writing, the AFL-CIO has remained silent.
Our Local received its charter from and continues to fall under the Constitution and rules of AFGE. Last month, AFGE decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for President. I have privately and at times publicly questioned the wisdom of this decision. Let it be clear that AFGE cannot spend one cent of dues money to directly support her candidacy. AFGE can spend dues money to recommend that its members vote for her. Unions cannot use dues money to support political candidates. The AFGE Political Action Committee (AFGE PAC) can donate to political campaigns. AFGE PAC receives its money from voluntary contributions made by AFGE members. I have contributed to AFGE PAC in most years since 2000.
AFGE is a member of every State AFL-CIO. As an AFGE Local, we are bound by the endorsements each State AFL-CIO makes in statewide races.
AFGE Local 2139 is a member of various Central Labor Councils (CLCs) and the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation based in Houston (Gulf Coast ALF). We are bound by the endorsements each CLC/ALF makes in races below the statewide level.
What does "bound by the endorsements" mean? This means that, if we decide to mention a candidate for an office, we can only mention the endorsed candidate/candidates while not mentioning any other candidate for that office.
Notice that I said that we can only mention the endorsed candidate/candidates if we decide to mention a candidate for an office. We are not obligated to mention any candidate should we decide not to.
If the AFL-CIO or AFGE does not make an endorsement in a race, we as a Local can decide to endorse a candidate in that race.
AFGE Local 2139 will comply with AFL-CIO rules concerning endorsements.
Our Local has over 450 members. These members come from every point on the political spectrum: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Socialists, Uninterested, Liberals, Moderates, Conservatives, Radicals, Reactionaries, the list goes on and on.
I do not believe it is in the interest of AFGE Local 2139 to recommend to our members any candidate for United States President. Should circumstances dictate otherwise later in the year, we may revisit this issue.
This is my third United States Presidential campaign since I became AFGE Local 2139 President on January 3, 2005. I believe it is the best interest of AFGE Local 2139 for us to remain silent in the 2016 race for United States President. AFGE Local 2139 followed this policy in 2008 and 2012, and will do so again this year barring unforeseen circumstances.
As always, please comply with the Hatch Act by not discussing political events on Federal government property or Federal government time, or using Federal government resources (including e-mail) to advance/combat against the cause of any political candidate.
Please assist me in implementing this policy.
Joann, please post on the website.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. Thank you.
President, AFGE Local 2139