In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama discusses meeting some former workers of a Maytag plant in Galesburg, Illinois.
His encounter takes up three pages of his best-seller, and my senator refers back to the Galesburg workers several times in later parts of the book.
Lately Obama has been working in the story of those Maytag employees into his stump speech. But there is one problem: The president of the union that reprsented those workers wants him to stop.
From the Centre Daily Times:
The president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is urging Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to dry his crocodile tears over the loss of more than 1,600 jobs when Maytag moved from Galesburg, IL, to Reynosa, Mexico.
"He didn't lift a finger to help those people when they needed help the most," said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger, whose union represented the workers at Maytag. "Even now, he doesn't have a clue and thinks those jobs went overseas and not to Mexico."
In recent campaign speeches, Sen. Obama has repeatedly cited the plight of Maytag workers in his bid to win sympathy and support from union members battered by factory closings and lost jobs.
"This is the same candidate who recently labeled unions as 'special interest' groups with too much influence in Washington, D.C.," said Buffenbarger. "For the last eight years, we've defended our members' jobs, pensions and health care benefits against a political agenda that's been openly hostile to unions and working families. But a Johnny come lately candidate won't solve the problem facing blue collar families."
The IAM is among the nation's largest and most politically active labor unions, representing nearly 720,000 members in manufacturing, transportation, shipbuilding and defense related industries. For more information about the IAM, visit www.goiam.org.
SOURCE International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Don't look for this clipping to appear in any Obama press kit. However, the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign might want to hang on to this one--especially since Buffenbarger and his union endorsed the New York senator's presidential run in August.
On one hand you might want to dismiss this story because of the union's previous endorsement, but don't look for Obama to talk about the Galesburg Maytag workers anymore.
Sometimes sucking up doesn't work out.
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Technorati tags: politics Unions Barack Obama 2008 election John Edwards Obama labor Democrats books Maytag Illinois Mexico méxico Hillary hillary clinton