AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka didn't mince words during a closed-door meeting with representatives of Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Wednesday night's primary debate, warning 2020 hopefuls not to count on union votes "simply because you have a 'D' next to your name."
What are the details?
The Huffington Post reported that aides "from the entire field" of Democratic White House contenders were in attendance when Trumka told the group that while workers have traditionally supported candidates on the left, they best not take union interests for granted.
"It's time to do better," Trumka said. "I believe you can. I believe you will. But you can't offer campaign rhetoric or count on workers' votes simply because you have a 'D' next to your name."
The union boss — who represents a federation of 55 unions — added, "We are caught in a web of century-old labor laws that prioritize unchecked corporate greed over all else. We can blame this White House all we want. But this isn't new.
"More often than not, the Republican Party is bad for workers," he continued. "The president is bad for workers. But let's be honest about the Democratic Party's record."
Trumka went on to cite examples of Democrat-backed trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he says hurt the middle class.
Fox News pointed out that this isn't the first time the AFL-CIO has scolded Democrats this year.
In March, 10 affiliated unions sent a letter on behalf of the AFL-CIO Energy Committee to Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), slamming the lawmakers' proposed Green New Deal as unrealistic and weak on details.
"We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families," the letter read. "We will not stand by and allow threats to our members' jobs and their families' standard of living go unanswered."