McCaskill’s clash with labor on Pacific trade deal offers evidence of shifting dynamic

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s support for a new U.S. trade agreement with Japan and 10 other countries along the Pacific Rim is, to some analysts, part of a larger body of evidence of a growing rift between the Democratic party and organized labor.

The relationship between those two groups, which have traditionally been close allies, is changing, according to many observers. Declining union membership, coupled with union members’ stances on issues like guns and abortion, have conspired to shake up the decades-old dynamic between Democrats and labor.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, another Missouri Democrat, still looks to labor as an ally. But he says that “organized labor today is not what it was 25 years ago.”

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