President Barack Obama faces waning enthusiasm from union members as he prepares for his 2012 re- election bid, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.
“It will be more challenging this time than it was last time to motivate our members,” Trumka, 61, said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s offices in Washington.
Trumka, head of the largest U.S. labor organization, said union members are frustrated by “wasted energy” in Washington on issues that he said don’t help workers: “hysteria” about the federal deficit, a White House review of regulations and Obama’s support for free-trade agreements.
Given the state of the economy -- not to mention the state of unions -- this is understandable. However, if unions are less than excited about electing Obama this presents certain problems for the Obama campaign.
Remember their outlandish claims about raising a billion dollars in campaign funds? Unions went all out like never before in 2008 and raised over $400 million for Obama and Democrats. If union campaign donations drop off significantly, it could create quite a fundraising hole for Obama to fill, to say nothing of all the effort and in-kind support unions have offered Obama in the past.