YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s campaign is criticizing Ted Strickland for his response to Portman’s latest union backing.
The campaign says that Ted Strickland, a Democrat running against Portman for the Senate seat, “lashed out” against the United Mine Workers of America and the Ohio Conference of Teamsters for their support of Portman.
The United Mine Workers of America last month endorsed Portman. This week, the Ohio Conference of Teamsters – representing over 50,000 members from across Ohio – also endorsed Portman’s re-election.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Strickland told reporters that the unions’ decision to back Portman “was made in Washington, D.C. – it wasn’t made in southern Ohio.”
Strickland campaign spokesman David Bergstein responded Friday, saying that Strickland has received the endorsement of the majority of labor unions, such as the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, SEIU and AFSCME because “of his proven commitment to fighting for working families.” He said Teamsters and UMWA both have a pension bill before Portman.
“Some labor groups are concerned about the power Senator Portman is holding over their pensions, but here are the facts: Senator Portman was the co-sponsor of a national right to work law, has opposed important middle class priorities like raising the minimum wage, and voted time and again for job-killing trade deals that have cost Ohio over 300,000 jobs to places like China,” he said. “The contrast in this election couldn’t be more clear: Ted is on the side of Ohioans who actually work for a living because that’s where he comes from and that’s who cares about, while Senator Portman is pushing the agenda of his rich and powerful friends at the expense of working families.”
The Teamsters have typically endorsed Democrats in the past. Portman credits his recent endorsements to his authoring of the Pension Accountability Act, which he said protects Teamsters from pensions cuts without say in the process, and because he passed Leveling the Playing Field Act, which his campaign said helps American companies “fight back against China’s unfair trade practices.”