Although the SIU-supported candidate didn’t win the presidential election, Seafarers- backed candidates in the House and Senate fared well on Nov. 8.
SIU Political and Legislative Director Brian Schoeneman noted, “Most attention will be focused on the presidential election, but for the SIU, this election was largely a confirmation that our bipartisan way of doing business is the best path forward. Our willingness to support elected officials and candidates from both sides of the aisle who are committed to protecting and defending the United States Merchant Marine resulted in SPAD (the union’s voluntary political action fund) maintaining an overall 91 percent win rate for our bipartisan roster of SIU-supported candidates. Of the 106 House of Representatives races we were involved in, SPAD-supported candidates won 98. On the Senate side, of the 17 races the SIU was involved in, SPAD-supported candidates won 13, lost three with one race still too close to call.”
He added, “This election, as most do, demonstrates that SPAD continues to make a difference for the union, and SPAD support can be a big benefit to the candidates we choose to support.”
The SIU endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, based on a combination of her longtime support of maritime, her detailed pledge to continue backing the industry, and her decades of advocacy for working families. The AFL-CIO also endorsed Clinton, as did the vast majority of other unions.
The afternoon following Election Day, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated, “Donald Trump has been elected president. America is a democratic nation, and the voters have spoken. The AFL-CIO accepts the outcome of this election, and offers our congratulations to President-Elect Trump.
“More than anything, this election is an indictment of politics as usual,” Trumka continued. “For too long, the political elites have embraced economic policies that hold down wages, increase inequality, diminish opportunity and ship American jobs overseas. Voters in both the primary and general election have delivered a clear message: enough.”
Trumka also pointed out, “The presidentelect made promises in this campaign – on trade, on restoring manufacturing, on reviving our communities. We will work to make many of those promises a reality. If he is willing to work with us, consistent with our values, we are ready to work with him. But make no mistake, we can never back down from our values. The presence of racism, misogyny, and anti-immigrant appeals caused damage in this campaign and we must all try to repair it with inclusion, decency and honesty.”
He concluded, “As we move forward, the labor movement is committed to defending our American democracy. Ultimately, the fundamental duty of America’s president, symbolized by swearing to uphold our Constitution, is to protect and preserve our democracy and the institutions that make it real. We hope to work with President- Elect Trump to help him carry out this solemn responsibility. Regardless, America’s labor movement will protect our democracy and safeguard the most vulnerable among us. This election is a statement about our broken economic and political rules. Therefore, the work of the labor movement continues with fresh urgency. The change voters cried out for in this campaign can be found by standing together in unions. The election is over. But we are more committed than ever to helping working people win a voice on the job and in our democracy. We will never stop striving to represent everyone, fighting for basic human dignity, expanding our diversity and growing our ranks to give working people a strong, united voice.”
Meanwhile, four states voted to increase their respective minimum wages, delivering the promise of a pay raise to more than two million workers in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington State. The measures in Arizona and Washington require employers to offer workers paid sick days.
Additionally, voters in Virginia rejected a proposed amendment that would have added a so-called right-to-work law to the state constitution.
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