State Senator Nate Boulton added to his labor coalition in a big way on Thursday with the Iowa AFL-CIO’s endorsement of his gubernatorial campaign. About 150 union members and supporters gathered at the Statehouse on Thursday afternoon for a rally with Boulton and to sign up for volunteer shifts for the final six and a half weeks of the campaign.
“Working people are tired of the same old ideas that have led our state to the brink of financial disaster, led us to the underfunding of schools and disregard for our children’s education, led us to low wages and poor opportunities,” Iowa AFL-CIO President Ken Sagar said. “We need a new leader who will stand up for working Iowans, our children, our seniors, and the values that Iowans’ believe in. Nate has the energy and the positive vision forward that our state needs, and we support him 100%.”
The Iowa Federation of Labor covers union affiliates that represent about a quarter million Iowa workers and their families. Many of the individual unions under their umbrella have already endorsed Boulton, though the overall AFL-CIO’s backing brings extra financial and staffer resources.
The union organization met on April 14 to decide which candidates in major races to endorse. They selected Boulton, Dave Loebsack in the 2nd District and Abby Finkenauer in the 1st District.
Back in the 2006 Democratic primary, unions lined up behind Mike Blouin, who ended up losing to Chet Culver. But this will be a particularly interesting year to watch for union participation. Boulton has solidified the labor movement in the state (aside from Cathy Glasson’s SEIU) at a time when they’re more motivated than ever following Republicans’ gutting of collective bargaining and attacks on workers compensation. That could mean union members comprise a much larger percentage of the Democratic primary electorate than in past years if their turnout spikes.
“I have been proud to stand up for working Iowans for 12 years as an attorney. From day one, I have been proud to continue taking on that fight in the Iowa Senate. I come from a union family and know the hard work Iowans do is essential to our state’s success” Boulton said. “The next step in our fight is to get back to what I first ran for the Iowa Senate to do – to expand workplace rights and safety so every Iowan is valued and respected on the job. With the support of the Iowa Federation of Labor and it’s hundreds of thousands of members, our statewide campaign network is poised to take back the governor’s office and get back to making sure that economic progress in Iowa means improving the quality of life for the working families of this state.”
by Pat Rynard