DES MOINES, Iowa – Sixteen of the presidential candidates will speak to union members at the Iowa Federation Labor Convention Wednesday.
Iowa Federation of Labor Secretary-Treasurer Charlie Wishman said during election years all registered candidates are invited to speak to members of the union.
“It was really quite a process in working with so many different campaign staffs,” Wishman said.
Wishman said arranging so many different travel schedules for different candidates was the most difficult part.
The Democrat candidates speaking include John Delaney, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Benet, Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper, Joe Sestak and Ben Gleib.
Bill De Blasio and Jay Inslee had been scheduled to attend but flight delays meant they had to cancel Wednesday morning. Marianne Williamson was also scheduled to be there but dropped out at the last minute due to a scheduling issue.
Each candidate will have 10 minutes to speak to union members.
Wishman said the goal is to have as many candidates speak in front of union members and working class voters, so they can make up their own minds on who is best suited to help them in their everyday lives.
“They’re really interested in what candidates have to say about these bread and butter issues, these kitchen table things that affect their families. These are the things that give them anxiety and keep them up at night,” Wishman said.
Some key topics people want to hear about include job security, education, healthcare, and retirement security.
“They want to know that there’s job security for them and that if you are a building trades-member you want to know that there’s gonna be a good economy and that they are going to be able to continue to do work. If you are somebody who works at the postal service, you want to know that the postal service is protected and that it is not going to be privatized,” Wishman said.
There are around 185,000 union members in Iowa. The convention is open to any union member, but not the general public.
Wishman said at this time the AFL-CIO will not make an endorsement for a candidate.
The convention begins Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the Prairie Meadows Convention Center. It lasts until Friday.