Bloomberg has many problems, but a lot of money. Mike Bloomberg is trying to position himself as a moderate candidate who has the resources and record to unite the Democratic Party to take on President Donald Trump this fall. But despite his recent surge in polls, that might be a difficult task, as he remains a divisive figure among a group historically important to Democrats — labor unions.
To be sure, unions’ support or opposition may not make or break Democratic candidacies this cycle, as key constituencies within the party are merely looking for the best chance to win in November. The influential Nevada Culinary Workers’ union declined to support any of the Democratic candidates ahead of the debate Wednesday night and the state’s caucuses this Saturday. Nor is there a clear front-runner for endorsement of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO, as former Vice President Joe Biden, once the would-be union darling, continues to fall in the polls
Yet the chances of Bloomberg becoming a champion of organized labor early in the primary season might seem small, despite his recent unveiling of some union-friendly policy proposals. Bloomberg’s media company, Bloomberg LP, is not unionized, though the legal research firm it acquired in 2011, Bloomberg BNA, does have a union. During his three-term run as New York mayor, Bloomberg’s tough tactics earned him a mixed record with unions: He had his share of enemies and allies, as well as people who straddled the divide.