Endorsements by National Organizations

2016  |  2008  |  2004                                                                                                                                                                             updated March 23, 2020 
Most of the big AFL-CIO affiliated national unions held back on endorsements through the early contests waiting to see how things developed before committing.  There were a few exceptions.  IAFF made the first endorsement of a national union this cycle, for Biden on Apr. 29, 2019.  IAFF members were very visible in supporting Biden on the campaign trail as the year progressed and in early 2020, providing a real boost when his candidacy was a bit wobbly.  (IAFF was also influential in Sen. John Kerry's win in the 2003-4 nominating contest, but its endorsement of Sen. Chris Dodd in 2007 did not help the Connecticut senator).  Sanders attracted a few endorsements from national unions including APWU and UE.  National Nurses United, which was very active on Sanders' behalf in 2016, endorsed him again and its leadership and members provided visible support at his campaign rallies.  Sanders was also endorsed by quite a few locals.  With Biden's solid win in the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary, the Democratic establishment began lining up behind him, and major unions have likewise begun to follow suit.   Endorsement processes vary.  AFT actively engaged its membership over the course of a year before finally endorsing Biden; other unions (for ex. SEIU and Teamsters) likewise engaged their members, including holding forums.  Some of the unions do take a more top-down approach.
In contrast to the 2020 cycle, in 2015 AFT was first out of the gate with its endorsement of Hillary Clinton on July 11; Clinton went on to gain overwhelming support of organized labor
in the 2015-16 primary while Sanders had just a handful of national labor endorsements.  In 2007-08 endorsements split among Clinton, Obama and Edwards while IAFF backed Dodd.  Clinton received an early endorsement from RWDSU in May 2007; Obama did not receive his first endorsement until Jan. 9, 2008 from UA - Plumbers and Pipefitters.  In 2003-04 Gephardt led in the number of endorsements, starting with early support from the Iron Workers (April 9, 2003) and the Bricklayers (May 21, 2003).  Kerry followed with endorsements from eight nationals, led by the IAFF on Sept. 24, 2003.  Dean obtained endorsements from just three nationals—IUPAT, SEIU, and AFSCME—but those three were very active in supporting him. [AFL-CIO affil. unions]

A number of non-labor groups have also made endorsements and mobilized resources in support of their favored candidates.  Sanders attracted many such endorsements; some of the groups supporting Sanders announced a coordinated effort just before the first votes were cast in the Iowa caucuses.

See also: Endorsements by Elected Officials

American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) (Mar. 23, 2020)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Mar. 22, 2020)
International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) (Mar. 15, 2020)
National Education Association (NEA) (Mar. 14, 2020)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) (Mar. 8, 2020)
Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA) (Mar. 3, 2020)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) (Feb. 5, 2020)
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) (Feb. 1, 2020)
International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron Workers (Jan. 22, 2020)
National Association of Government Employees (NAGE-SEIU) (Dec. 9, 2019)
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) (Apr. 29, 2019)
National Wildlife Federation Action Fund (Mar. 12, 2020)
Giffords PAC (Mar. 11, 2020)
Latino Victory Fund (Feb. 20, 2020)
AAPI Victory Fund (Jan. 17, 2020)

VoteVets PAC (Dec. 4, 2019)
LGBTQ Victory Fund (June 28, 2019)

Latino Victory Fund (Aug. 1, 2019)


United Farm Workers (Nov. 16, 2019)
Higher Heights for America PAC (Nov. 6, 2019)
Indian American Impact Fund (Apr. 17, 2019)


IfNotNow (Mar. 11, 2020)
Working Families Party (Mar. 9, 2020)
Justice Democrats (Mar. 8, 2020)
350 Action (Mar. 2, 2020 - joint endorsement Sanders and Warren)
Democracy for America (Mar. 2, 2020)
Muslim Caucus of America (Jan. 31, 2020)
Zero Hour Movement (Jan. 31, 2020)
People Power for Bernie (Jan. 30, 2020)
Friends of Earth Action (Jan. 30, 2020 - joint endorsement Sanders and Warren)
American Postal Workers Union (Jan. 30, 2020) [Jan. 29 vote]
Make the Road Action (Jan. 15, 2020)
Sunrise Movement (Jan. 9, 2020)
People's Action (Dec. 19, 2019)
CASA in Action [regional-MD, PA, VA] (Dec. 8, 2019)
National Nurses United (Nov. 15, 2019)
UE, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (Aug. 26, 2019)
Democratic Socialists of America (Mar. 22, 2019)
Progressive Democrats of America (Mar. 12, 2019)

National Women's Political Caucus (Mar. 3, 2020)
EMILY's List (Mar. 2, 2020)
NOW PAC (Mar. 2, 2020)
350 Action (Mar. 2, 2020 - joint endorsement Sanders and Warren)
Friends of Earth Action (Jan. 30, 2020 - joint endorsement Sanders and Warren)
Black Womxn For (Nov. 2019)
Working Familes Party (Sept. 16, 2019)
Progressive Campaign Change Committee (Feb. 9, 2019)


Log Cabin Republicans (Aug. 16, 2019)
National Right to Life Committee (July 4, 2019)

also see:
VT and NH-based Rights & Democracy endorsed Sanders (Nov. 16, 2019)
California-based National Union of Healthcare Workers split endorsement of Warren and Sanders (Sept. 26, 2019)