Do Union Endorsements Still Matter?

It's an election year tradition — but does a union's endorsement determine who you support?


Every election year, amid the charges and counter-charges by candidates, voters also receive a veritable onslaught of mailers and commercials about union support for particular hopefuls.

In Johnston, RI Council Local 94 has endorsed incumbent Town Councilwoman Eileen Fuoco (D) in , as well as 19-year-old candidate Nicole Acciardo in the Democratic primary race against Sen. Frank Lombardo III for the District 25 seat.

The AFSCME/AFL-CIO organization also supported the three incumbent members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation who are up for reelection: Reps. David Cicilline and James Langevin, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

When they get endorsements, candidates benefit from union volunteers who staff phone banks, erect signs, and help with get-out-the-vote efforts — as well as the imprimatur of support from middle-class working voters.

In the wake of Rhode Island's pension funding crisis, public perception of unions may have undergone a shift — although a poll commissioned in March by Working Rhode Island and posted on the Rhode Island AFL-CIO website showed a 65-percent favorable rating for state workers and a 67-percent favorable response for city and town employees.

What do you think?

Do union endorsements carry the same influence they once did?

If you know that a candidate is endorsed by a union, are you more or less likely to vote for them?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Peter A. Filippi III September 12, 2012 at 11:17 PM
It’s a crying shame that many Rhode Islanders haven’t seen the light yet regarding government labor unions and the realization that whom ever they support should be a red flag to oppose them. It can be very disheartening indeed. What unions do in the private sector is of less concern but they do not belong in government…


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