Today, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers’ (IFPTE), executive council endorsed Barack Obama for president. The union’s membership is composed of engineers, scientists and technicians at the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, NASA and Boeing.
“IFPTE’s Executive Council agreed that Senator Obama is the candidate best suited to address the major concerns of America’s working men and women, particularly those issues that directly impact IFPTE’s diverse membership. The Senator believes we need to reform the H-1B program; he will immediately reverse the last eight years of the union busting promulgated on our nation’s Civil Servants; will stand against free trade agreements like NAFTA that fail to protect American workers; will address our nation’s dangerous health care crisis; will work to oppose irresponsible privatization schemes in the public and federal sectors; will work to protect the pensions and retirement security of working Americans,” IFPTE President Gregory Junemann said in a statement.
Sen. Obama released a statement that thanked the union for their endorsement, and he promised, “I’ll fight for organized labor by protecting the right to organize. I’ll support vigorous reinvestment in our federal research and development agencies, including NASA, to maintain America’s leadership in Science and Technology and to foster economic competitiveness. And I’ll stand up to the special interests and unite this country so we can bring about real change in the lives of American families — from passing universal health care, to putting money back in the pockets of middle-class families and making sure every one of our children has the world-class education they deserve.”
The 85,000 member IFTPE is not what many people think of when they think of a union, but they represent the typical American union. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 union membership was five times higher in the public than in the private sector. The public sector is 35.7% unionized, but only 7.5% of the private sector is unionized.
Private sector union erosion started with the Reagan administration in the 1980s, and one of the things Bill Clinton promised in 1992 was that he would be a friend to labor. He wasn’t. In fact, he did more to hurt labor, by not supporting legislation to help unions, and by signing NAFTA.
Hillary Clinton is running on returning the nation to the good old days of the 1990s. Well for unions, the 1990s weren’t so great, so it is no surprise that they wouldn’t want to see another Clinton in the White House.