AFL-CIO members urged to back Gore despite China deal

Leaders push rank and file to campaign aggressively

February 20, 2000|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

The leaders of the AFL-CIO said this weekend that they would continue pushing union members to campaign aggressively for Vice President Al Gore, even though he has reiterated his support for President Clinton's trade deal with China.

Persuading Congress to reject the China accord has become organized labor's No. 1 legislative goal this year, and some labor leaders are voicing fears that Gore's support for the deal could cause many rank-and-file union members to sour on the vice president.

On Thursday, Gore told labor leaders meeting in New Orleans that any trade agreements he negotiated as president would have strong labor and environmental protections. Some union officials took that to mean that Gore was unenthusiastic about the China deal, which does not contain such protections.

But after some administration officials and corporate executives criticized Gore for seemingly undermining the deal, he sent a letter to a powerful business group reaffirming his support for the China accord, and his aides said his remarks had been misinterpreted.

John J. Sweeney, the AFL-CIO's president, said even though he was unhappy with Gore's stance on the China deal, labor would back him enthusiastically.

Pub Date: 2/20/00

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