WASHINGTON -- One year ago, organized labor vowed that anyone who voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement would not win labor's backing in elections this fall.
But legislative priorities change, and four months before voters make their choices for all 435 House seats and 34 Senate seats, labor has backed away from its threat. While anti-NAFTA lawmakers are being well supported by the unions, not all of those who voted for the treaty are being excluded.
In this election cycle through the end of May, the ILGWU has given campaign contributions to 187 candidates, including 24 incumbents who voted for NAFTA, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission.
Those contributions include $1,500 to Rep. Sam Farr (D., Calif.), $1,000 to Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), $1,000 to Sen. Charles Robb (D., Va.) $1,000 to Rep. Vic Fazio (D., Calif.), $500 to Rep. Bill Hefner (D., N.C.) and $500 to Rep. Marilyn Lloyd (D., Tenn.), former chairman of the House Textile Caucus. However, the ILGWU was more generous to those who voted against NAFTA, such as Rep. Richard Gephardt (D., Mo.), who got $6,500, the largest of the ILGWU's contributions so far. Evelyn Dubrow, vice president and legislative director of the ILGWU, said the union continues to contribute to campaigns of NAFTA backers because it needs them on other issues. "If they have a good record on other things, we won't try to defeat them," she said.
The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, according to FEC reports, has made $500 contributions to six pro-NAFTA incumbents. In all, it has given contributions to 68 candidates.
In Illinois, three incumbent House Democrats who backed NAFTA -- Richard Durbin, Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds -- are expected to win the endorsement of the AFL-CIO this month, because the three have favorable voting records on labor issues despite their free-trade positions, said Mike Klein, political director for the AFL-CIO in Illinois and Wisconsin.
"NAFTA was a sore spot," Klein said, "but with time it's healed a bit....As angry as we get about an issue, the nature of politics is that we go from issue to issue."Such issues as health care, an overhaul of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and labor law reform have moved to the forefront of labor's agenda, Klein said.
In at least one case, labor worked to defeat an incumbent in an election in which NAFTA was an issue, but failed.
Mississippi Democrat Mike Parker, who has been in Congress since 1988, says he handily won the state's June primary, in part because his opponent, Marshall Bennett, carped about Parker's vote for NAFTA.
According to FEC records, Bennett had solid backing from labor, too, getting more than $51,000 from labor's political action committees. That tally includes $3,000 from the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
Parker, on the other hand, did not get any union money, based on FEC reports. He did receive $1,000 from a PAC organized by Rep. Robert Matsui (D., Calif.), who helped the administration win votes for NAFTA.
Joe Alvarez, ACTWU political director, spent the days before the Mississippi primary vote drumming up support for Bennett, whom the union considers more liberal than Parker. Alvarez said Parker's NAFTA vote was the primary reason for the union's involvement in the race, and Parker's opposition to a minimum wage hike was the second reason.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)