Yesterday, Ben Smith broke the story that the AFL-CIO had drafted a statement opposing Obama’s NAFTA-Style Korea Free Trade Deal, and it has been sitting on Richard Trumka’s desk since last Thursday (the day before the White House announced the deal).
A member of congress, however, is spreading the rumor that the AFL-CIO might sit out the fight now:
Trumka has told at least one Democratic member in Congress that the AFL-CIO would might decide to skip a fight with the White House over South Korea to preserve its leverage in China policy, according to a source who spoke to that lawmaker.
I asked a source familiar with the negotiations within the AFL-CIO if Trumka said this to anyone. The response was rather unequivocal:
This is complete and total shit, he never said that.
So who would be spreading something like this?
Well, since it’s a member of Congress, the most likely suspect is Sander Levin, who was working the phone this weekend telling people that the UAW, the Steelworkers and Nancy Pelosi all supported the deal. Of course, everything but the UAW claim was bullshit. Leo Gerard of the Steelworkers said somewhat pointedly on Sunday that he has not made a decision yet.
I have no idea if Politico’s source is Levin or not. But in Levin’s desperate attempt to whip support for KORUS, it’s the kind of thing he’s been telling people.