Media Center

If the election were held today... who should the ATU endorse for president?

That’s the question on many minds as U.S. candidates begin to campaign in earnest for the highest office in the land, and ATU has begun the process of deciding whom it might endorse. We are submitting questionnaires to all declared candidates and will post their responses on our website as we receive them.

Where YOU come in

ATU wants to know who you think we should endorse.  You’ll find a postcard inserted in this issue that you can use to register your choice with us.

What follows are descriptions of, and quotes from, the candidates listed by party in alphabetical order that reflect their views on Labor and public transit:


Democratic Party Candidates

Lincoln Chafee

Former Democratic Governor and Republican Senator from Rhode Island


The AFL-CIO gives Lincoln Chafee a lifetime Senate pro-union voting rating of 57%. Chafee’s 2014 budget for Rhode Island apportioned $3 million for workforce development support.
– Lincoln Chafee presidential campaign, 2016/Labor and employment, BALLOTPEDIA, 2015


“I propose a 40 million dollar bond be placed on the November ballot. These funds will be used to undertake major enhancements and renovations to mass transit hub systems at key locations in our state. …”
– Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s State of the State Speech, Governing Magazine, January 15, 2014


Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State and Democratic Senator from New York


The AFL-CIO gives Hillary Clinton a lifetime Senate pro-union voting rating of 94%.

“The right to organize is one of our most fundamental human rights …I believe that unions are critical to a strong American middle class…. I am consulting with both labor leaders and labor economists about ways the next president can best support 21st Century organizing and collective bargaining.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


“I strongly support making additional investments in our infrastructure to create jobs, repair our crumbling roads and bridges, and ensure our basic foundations, from rail to transit and other modes of transportation, to ports and our power systems modernized for the 21st Century.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


Martin O’Malley

Former Democratic Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore


“We should make it easier, not harder, for people to join labor unions and bargain collectively.”
– NPR’s full interview with Martin O’Malley, April 20, 2015

“I would stand firmly with workers and their right to collectively bargain … as president I would lead the fight to strengthen collective bargaining rights for public sector workers… I will not be silent when it comes to workers’ rights to organize.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


“…we raised the gas tax and indexed it to inflation during my administration as governor...  Without the increase, Maryland wouldn’t have been able to afford even basic transportation maintenance, yet alone the new, resilient, and cleaner infrastructure needed to keep our state’s economy competitive.  … we were able to invest $4.4 billion in new transportation projects – while also pushing forward local, state, federal, and private partnerships to build new mass transit projects in our state.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


Bernie Sanders

Independent Senator from Vermont


The AFL-CIO gives Senator Bernie Sanders a lifetime Senate pro-union voting score of 98%.

“…I strongly believe that workers should be allowed to join unions when a majority sign valid authorization cards stating that they want a union as their bargaining representative. … We must also strongly penalize employers that illegally fire or discriminate against workers for their union activity during an organizing or first contract drive… And, perhaps most importantly, we have got to make it easier for workers who win union elections to negotiate a first contract.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


“…I  have introduced the Rebuild America Act, which would invest $1 trillion over five years to modernize our infrastructure… the Rebuild America Act would invest in roads, bridges and transit….”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015

Jim Webb

Former Democratic Senator from Virginia and Secretary of the Navy


The AFL-CIO gives former Senator Jim Webb, D-VA, a lifetime pro-union voting score of 95%.

“I think I can safely say that I am still the only person ever elected to statewide office in Virginia with a union card, two Purple Hearts and three tattoos…”  Webb promises to stand up “to the powerful financial interests who are going to spend billions of dollars in order to elect people who think the current drift toward a permanent, moneyed aristocracy is okay.”
– Jim Webb says ‘stay tuned’ on presidential run, Washington Post, March 10, 2015


“…everywhere around us we see roads that need to be widened or repaired, bridges that are beginning to crumble and others that need to be built, traffic jams from clogged highways… There are people who need jobs… I believe it is possible to meld such a [infrastructure building] program with another one, featuring adult education for those who did lose their way when they were 17 and now know how important it is [to learn work skills].”
– National Infrastructure, JimWebb’16 Leadership You Can Trust, 2015


Green Party Candidate

Jill Stein

Medical Doctor and 2012 Green Party Nominee for President


“My Power to the People Plan creates deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit… [by creating] living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Advance workers rights to form unions, achieve workplace democracy, and keep a fair share of the wealth they create…”
– Power to the People Plan, Jill2016, 2015


Stein supports the creation of sustainable infrastructure based in clean renewable energy generation and sustainable communities principles… Her vision includes increasing intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, creating ‘complete streets’ that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic…
– Jill Stein, Wikipedia, 2015


Republican Party Candidates

Jeb Bush

Former Republican Governor of Florida


Privatization has been described as the “signature” policy of the Bush governorship of Florida.

… Bush expanded outsourcing to include previous government operations … [and] significantly increased the temporary workforce, employees with no access to health care, retirement or other benefits …
– Why a Jeb Bush Presidency Could Mean Far Less Job Security for Feds, Government Executive, June 15, 2015

“We need to have a teacher evaluation system that is based on teachers being professionals, not part of some collective trade union bargaining process…“
– Jeb Bush hammers teachers’ unions at education summit, Washington Times, November 27, 2012


“A Bush presidency would almost surely cast a more skeptical eye toward costly transportation projects … Bush’s detractors said his handling of the issue in Florida is emblematic of his willingness to protect moneyed interests …who opposed a shift toward mass transit…”
– Jeb Bush’s war against Florida high speed rail shows his governing style, Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2015


Ben Carson

Retired Johns Hopkins University Neurosurgeon


“… With time, many of the union bosses began to concern themselves with power and influence. By threatening strikes to further their causes, they were able to exact excessive wages and benefits… crippling these companies and rendering them noncompetitive. Essentially they were strangling the goose that laid the golden egg.”
– America the Beautiful: What Makes This Country Great, by Ben Carson, M.D. with Candy Carson, Zondervan, 2012


So far, it doesn’t appear that Dr. Carson has made any statements on public transit


Chris Christie

Republican Governor and former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey


Christie has long tangled with public employee unions but has a particularly fraught relationship with teachers… He has called the unions ‘political thugs…’

When asked who deserves a punch in the face on the national level, Christie replied, “Oh the national teachers union, who has already endorsed Hillary Clinton… they are the single most destructive force in public education in America.”
– Chris Christie to teachers union: You deserve a punch in the face, Washington Post, August 3, 2015


The smoldering pile of rubbish that is NJT’s balance sheet is the result of a Gov. Chris Christie having no transportation funding policy in his sixth year in office.
– The Mass Transit Mess and Christie’s Failure to Lead,” editorial, June 28, 2015


Ted Cruz

Republican Senator from Texas


Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX has an AFL-CIO Senate lifetime pro-union voting record of 0.

“Stop the National Labor Relations Board from Attacking Jobs in Right-to-Work States. …Incredibly, the NLRB’s position is that… Boeing …cannot employ U.S. workers in manufacturing jobs unless they are subject to union bosses and pay mandatory union dues...”
–  Ted Cruz on Unions,” The Political Guide,, from 2011


Senator Cruz co-sponsored the unsuccessful Transportation Empowerment Act in 2014, which would have transferred almost all authority over federal highway and transit programs to the states over a five-year period, and lowered the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents from 18.4 cents over the same period. If it had passed the legislation would have had disastrous consequences to public transit in the United States.
– Transportation Empowerment Act, Congressman Tom Graves website, 2015
S Amdt 3584 – Transportation Empowerment Act – Key Vote, Vote Smart – Just the Facts – I Spy, July 29,2014


Carly Fiorina

Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Corporation


“… the single greatest impediment to equal pay for equal work is the seniority system, which pays not on merit and not on performance, but on time and grade.… And who is it who supports the seniority system? Unions, government bureaucracies…”
–  Carly Fiorina Blames Unions For The Gender Pay Gap, Facebook post, April 4, 2015

She also declined to support calls for better family leave policies, saying, “…When well-meaning legislation to help juggle work and family goes too far, it hurts women.”
– Carly Fiorina Blames Unions, Dodd Frank And Democrats For Gender Inequality, ThinkProgress, June 12, 2015


“The Highway Trust Fund …even subsidizes mass transit… Moms in minivans from Miami to Seattle are paying for…cities’* subways or streetcars every time they fill up the tank… Which points to an obvious fix: The Highway Trust Fund should be spent only on highways.”
– Cheaper Gas? Politicians Want a Tax Fill-Up, by Carly Fiorina and Penny Nance, Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2014
*Misleading. The Highway Trust Fund supports public transit throughout the entire country.


Jim Gilmore

Former Republican Governor of Virginia


“In addition to threatening Virginia’s Right to Work Law, I am convinced the Union Check Card [the Employee Free Choice Act] poses a strong threat to Virginia’s small business and industries. …

“… this legislation is designed to make it easier for union officials to establish themselves as the “exclusive” bargaining agents of employees…  in currently nonunion workplaces in every state in the union… And of course, the entire national economy would be seriously damaged …”
- Protecting Right to Work Law Standing up against forced unionization,, September 22, 2008


“Loud hissing is what needs to greet reports from late this week that the Obama administration was floating a proposal to tax automobile drivers on how many miles they drive. …

“[But] Let me be fair and clear… government has a legitimate and appropriate role in financing and developing not just highways, but mass transit… Citizens expect government to plan for and build these facilities to enable people to get to their jobs, and to enable the movement of goods and freight.”

- Reported Plan to Tax the Miles We Drive: A Wreck to Be Avoided, by Jim Gilmore, Town, May 7, 2011


Lindsey Graham

Republican Senator and former US House Member from South Carolina


Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, has an AFL-CIO Senate lifetime pro-union voting record of 16%.

“The NLRB is the Grim Reaper of job creation. They seem hell-bent on interjecting themselves into private sector business decisions for purely political reasons. … On issue after issue the NLRB is destroying jobs and making the United States uncompetitive in the international marketplace.”
– Graham NLRB amendments fail in Senate Appropriations Cmte., Sen. Lindsey Graham Website, June 13, 2012


Senator Graham voted for the Transportation Empowerment Act (see description on page 7, under Ted Cruz – Transit).
–  S Amdt 3584 – Transportation Empowerment Act – Key Vote, Vote Smart – Just the Facts – I Spy, July 29,2014


Mike Huckabee

Former Republican Governor of Arkansas


“If elected, I will work directly with President Richard Trumpka in giving a voice to American labor…

“… the president can help create a healthy and civil tone of respect towards labor and make clear that workers will be respected and treated with dignity not only in hiring, but in retention.

“I am not opposed to public employees being part of a union, but I do not feel public employees should strike. …

“I strongly oppose the TPP and fast-track and have been one of the few Republicans to be so vocal about it.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015


Aggressive infrastructure construction puts Americans to work. I will pass an infrastructure bill that restores our industrial and economic skeletal system and provides good jobs for American workers that can’t be outsourced.”
– Answers to AFL-CIO Presidential Questionnaire, April 2015

“So we must also look at longer-term ways to grow local economies and our national economy by: first, easing congestion by emphasizing road expansion and mass-transit investment.”
– Election 2008 - Where Clinton and Huckabee Stand on Transit, Peak Direction, February 10, 2008


Bobby Jindal

Republican Governor and former U.S. House Member from Louisiana


Bobby Jindal voted against a Louisiana version of the Employee Free Choice Act, Bill HR 800, in the state’s legislature in 2007, which would have provided for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts.
– Bobby Jindal on Jobs, On the Issues, 2007

In 2011, Bobby Jindal signed SB 76, which “Prohibits public entities from requiring certain agreements related to labor organizations as a condition of bidding on projects.”  …Jindal [also] voted against the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007, which sought to provide “collective bargaining rights for public safety officers employed by states or local governments.”
– Bobby Jindal presidential campaign, 2016/Labor and employment, BALLOTPEDIA, Presidential Elections, 2015


One trust fund that’s been repeatedly raided over the years to cover costs in other areas … is dedicated to transportation needs. … Instead, the money is being used to pay for other government services.
– Louisiana’s latest mid-year budget reductions approved by legislative committee,, February 20, 2015

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to close a more than $103 million midyear deficit will shrink health care services, and trim transportation spending …
– Jindal plan mixes cuts, one-time fixes to budget,, February 6, 2015


John Kasich

Republican Governor and former U.S. House Member from Ohio


… Gov. John Kasich, R, signed the wildly unpopular [union-busting] law, and has since seen his approval ratings plummet. …
– John Kasich dismisses overwhelming opposition to his union-busting law as no big deal, ThinkProgress, July 13, 2011


Of all the anti-transit zealots in office right now, Ohio Governor John Kasich really stands out from the rest. …

“Kasich came in and just started canceling this stuff left and right… He has a clear bend against transit.”
– John Kasich’s Sad War on Transit (and Cities), Streetsblog USA, April 15, 2011


George Pataki

Former Republican Governor of New York


Firefighters welcomed former New York Gov. George Pataki as a friend of Labor in the presidential sweepstakes …
– Patacki gets union hug as a presidential candidate, Politics on the Hudson, March 10, 2015

During that time (2006), the [Patacki] Administration reportedly vetoed a bill “overwhelmingly passed by the State Senate and the Assembly” that would have given home-based child care providers the right to unionize.
– Eric Scheiderman’s campaign rips into John Cahill’s record in new online posting, NY Daily News, August 21, 2014


…out of this pool of transit tragedy one person bears a disproportionate responsibility for the current mess the nation’s largest public transit system is in. That person is former Governor George Pataki.
– For the MTA, current crisis is 30 years and a governor in the making, WNYC, August 25, 2011

George Pataki just let those zeroes stand and put the cost of the capital plan on the MTA’s credit card, starting the debt build-up in earnest…
– Where Does Your Fare Go? Increasingly, To Pay Off MTA Debt, Streetsblog, September 7, 2011


Rand Paul

Republican Senator from Kentucky


Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, has an AFL-CIO lifetime pro-union voting record of 4%.

“…I have introduced a national Right to Work Act that will require all states to give their workers the freedom to chose.”
– Koch funded Rand Paul introduces national anti-union ‘right to work’ bill, Bold Progressives, February 4, 2013 

… Senator Paul has attempted to raise funds by soliciting contributions from the Koch Brothers, Kentucky coal mining interests and Silicon Valley to no avail, so this introduction of a national anti-union bill that will almost certainly fail in the Senate seems like a blatant attempt to curry favor with the billionaire sugar daddy donors that Paul will need to compete for the Republican nomination.
– Rand Paul: Hating Unions, Hoping For Koch Love, ReverbPress, June 2, 2015


Rand Paul dropped an unusually specific bit of policy… [that] would allow companies to voluntarily return overseas profits at a reduced
6.5 percent tax rate (it’s normally taxed at 35 percent when companies repatriate). All tax revenue from the returned money would go to shore up the near-empty Highway Trust Fund.
– Why Is Rand Paul Working With Barbara Boxer on a Hated Transportation Policy?, National Journal, April 21, 2015

The measure would ensure that at least 25 percent of repatriated funds will be used for increased hiring, wages and pensions; research and development, environmental improvements; public-private partnerships*; capital improvements; and acquisitions. *emphasis added
– Sens. Paul, Boxer Introduce Bipartisan ‘Invest in Transportation Act’, Rand Paul Senate website, April 16, 2015


Marco Rubio

Republican Senator from Florida


Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, has an AFL-CIO lifetime pro-union voting record of 6%.

“I oppose card check and any efforts like the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to tip labor law in favor of unions through binding federal arbitration…. I believe … that a card check system would open the door to pressure and intimidation that would disrupt the workplace and threaten businesses’ livelihoods.”
– Marco Rubio on Jobs, On the Issues, Rubio 2010 campaign website, February 3, 2010


“Partner with private companies to build a model transportation system.”
– Rubio on the Environment, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future by Marco Rubio, On the Issues, November 1, 2006

Senator Rubio co-sponsored the Transportation Empowerment Act, (see description on page 7, under Ted Cruz – Transit).
– Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, Open Congress, 2015


Rick Santorum

Former GOP Senator and former U.S. House Member from Pennsylvania


Former Senator Rick Santorum, R-FL, had an AFL-CIO lifetime record on pro-union positions of 13% in 2006.

… no union, national, statewide, or local, appears to have ever supported his candidacies….
– Rick Santorum Is Just As Anti-Union As Mitt Romney, Think Progress, February 17, 2012

“I’m a right to work guy… I have signed a pledge that I would support a national right to work. …”
– Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate, On the Issues, January 8, 2012


“The Reverse Commuting Program that I authored in 1996 along with Sen. Carol Mosley Braun, D-IL, ensures that people who live in reclamation and distressed areas have opportunity to get where economic opportunity currently reside. …”
– It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p.179, Apr 30, 2006

A staunch advocate of privatization, all the way back to when he was the Senate point man for the Republicans’ 2005 “Saving Social Security,” initiative.
– Commentary: The Privatization Principal, Drovers Cattle Network, March 12, 2012


Donald Trump

Real estate developer and president of The Trump Organization


“... the local hospitality union, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, is pressing [Trump with] serious charges of labor violations and denouncing his operations as a bastion of union busting in an otherwise union town.
– No Surprise: Trump Is a Union Buster at His Own Hotel, The Nation, August 21, 2015

Donald Trump proffered a typically Republican plan to help the big three automakers increase their profits: “You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle — you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to desperately want their jobs back; even if it is earning less. We can do the rotation in the United States — it doesn’t have to be in Mexico. After Michigan loses a few plants, all of sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area.”
– Donald Trump advises automakers to kill jobs to increase profits, Politics USA, August 15, 2015


In Transit did not find anything on record by Donald Trump specifically on public transit.  But, he did tweet this after a recent Amtrak train disaster:

“The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me…”