Charges of Union Intimidation in Nevada
Las Vegas Sun columnist John Ralston said the union began its "it's the union above all else” pitch right after it endorsed Obama.
The “It’s the union above all else” pitch began Wednesday when Secretary-Treasurer D. Taylor announced the Obama endorsement. He praised all the candidates but made it clear that his members value union solidarity above all.
MyDD diarist Izaradar, who belongs to a union, says union endorsements are more problematic in caucus than primary states:
What's the big deal, you might ask? The union leadership can't force a member to honor the endorsement of Senator Obama. If a member wants to vote for John Edwards, or Senator Clinton, they're free to do so. This is a democracy, right? The secret ballot protects our identity and our choice. Well, that's a problem.
This is an open caucus. Union members will be standing in the same room with other union members. Or maybe even their shop steward. Or their foreman. Or possibly even a union official. Everyone will know which candidate you're backing. And if you're a member of Culinary Workers Local 226, and you don't caucus for Senator Obama??? That could make for a long shift on Monday.
Some analysts wonder if the caucus process will discourage some workers from voting their consciences. Unlike a secret-ballot election, caucus participants have to stand up and proclaim support for their candidate – even if it's in front of their co-workers or supervisors.
“We think in the end our members will act like a union,” said Pilar Weiss, the Culinary Workers political director. Damore speculated that union workers who attend caucuses in their neighborhood precincts would feel more comfortable voting for someone other than Obama than those who go to the at-large caucuses in the casinos.
“Those are going to be union-dominated sites, and if there is going to be intimidation to toe the union line, that's where it's going to be,” he said.
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