Democrats Debate the ‘Vision Thing’

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Machinists union members are listening closely as Democratic leaders search for themes.

Subtle but profound differences over the future of the Democratic Party were apparent in recent back-to-back presentations to the New Democratic Network (NDN) by New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Click to hear both speeches.

Senator Clinton rolled out a litany of Democratic domestic priorities stymied by the GOP-controlled Congress while Governor Vilsack pointed to victories won by Democrats at the state level.

On jobs and international trade, two issues of direct concern to International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) members, the contrast was striking. Governor Vilsack talked about jobs lost to global trade and called for “a new social compact that gives workers a voice” in corporate decision-making. Senator Clinton, describing herself as a free-trader, complained about the lack of enforcement by the Bush administration of existing trade laws.

“It is still early,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “But Machinist union members are listening carefully to this debate. They want candidates who will challenge the status quo on jobs and trade.”

The IAM is one of the largest trade unions in North America and represents more than 720,000 active and retired members. For more information about the IAM, visit their website at


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Francis Larkin
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