On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO announced that it would support Lt. Gov Bill Halter of Arkansas in his challenge to sitting Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln. The move is part of a series of positive proposals coming out of this week's AFL-CIO executive council meeting in Orlando.
Unlike Lincoln, who has opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, stood in the way of a robust public option in health care reform, and failed to back one of President Obama's key nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, Halter promises to be a far more resolute progressive advocate in Washington, D.C.
Opposing Lincoln in the Democratic primary is the right move at the right time. It's not enough for the labor movement to simply have "friends" in Washington who only voice pro-union values when election time comes around and they need our support.
Friends aren't necessarily champions, and we need champions -- lawmakers who are going to push forward a pro-worker agenda throughout their time in office. Likewise, it's not enough to elect more Democrats to office. We need Democrats that are more concerned with actually moving forward an agenda for change than cozying up to corporations.
By pointing to the failures in Sen. Lincoln's voting record, the labor movement shows voters just where we've been let down. And it encourages other progressives to follow its lead in identifying and backing credible challengers to lawmakers who are not serving the interests of working Americans.
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