Labor unions are going to help push Hillary Clinton to the nomination—at least that’s the prediction of the nation’s top labor regulator. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez made the claim in Las Vegas Thursday afternoon, while stopping by Nevada’s AFSCME headquarters to stump for Clinton.
Perez was quick to caution that he was appearing in his personal capacity, not as a cabinet official. But he made no apologies for urging labor’s troops to come out and caucus on Saturday for the former Secretary of State, and not Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
“The union members I know, they’re all about results,” he told Mother Jones, explaining why he was sure Clinton would win union voters this weekend. “Not only what you say, but what you’ve done.”
While Perez acknowledged that Clinton’s national union endorsements won’t guarantee support from the rank-and-file (“I’ve spent a lot of time with union members and they’re not reflexive do-what-my-boss-tells-me”), he dismissed the idea that there’s a substantial divide between union leaders and grassroots members who might prefer Sanders, pointing to exit polls from Iowa that showed Clinton winning union households 52-41 percent.
While Perez noted that he had “profound respect for Sen. Sanders” during his speech, while talking with Mother Jones he sounded annoyed by the tone of Sanders’ attacks on Clinton. “I must confess, as a proud progressive who has the scars to show for it—someone who was the subject of roughly 20 Wall Street Journal op-eds against him for my nomination—the notion that you’re either for Bernie or you’re for the establishment, I find that inaccurate, to be charitable,” he said. “Frankly a disservice to people like Dolores Huerta, people like Luis Gutierrez, people like Sherrod Brown. And frankly, President Obama.”