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.