Reporting from Orlando —
Leaders of the influential AFL-CIO labor federation announced Tuesday it voted "proudly and enthusiastically" to endorse President Obama's reelection effort.
"We feel that he's put forth bold initiatives and put people back to work, put revenues back in the country, put out a vision that expresses opportunity and fairness," said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "We think he's a good man."
The council spoke to Obama by telephone during its closed-door session, in which the president sounded "very engaged, very knowledgeable," according to McEntee, who serves as chair of the AFL-CIO's political education committee.
The vote, among the AFL-CIO's 57 member executive council, was unanimous.
Labor leaders had in the past been vocal about dissatisfaction with the Obama White House on a host of issues, from Obama’s compromise in extending the George W. Bush tax cuts to perceived shortcomings in the administration’s stimulus and healthcare reform packages.
But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he had been heartened the administration's renewed push on jobs and combating inequality, a pivot that occurred around Labor Day last year.
"We will continue to have disagreements with him," Trumka said. "But we've never doubted one thing: We've never doubted he's a friend of working people and he's the best out there.
Best for us, best for working people, best for the recovery of this country."