Edward Sullivan is president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s Building Trades Department. In April 2002 Sullivan initiated a short-lived boycott by fourteen member unions of the Clinton Presidential Center construction site. Sullivan and other labor leaders argued that their strong support for Bill Clinton as presidential hopeful and officeholder should be reciprocated with a union-only presidential library job site. Closed job sites are prohibited by Arkansas law.
Sullivan stated at the time that A.F.L.-C.I.O. "affiliated unions are furious at being treated this way by former allies, and most of them will continue their ban on contributions to the Democratic National Committee." The Reagan Library in California, he noted, had been built exclusively by union workers.
The dispute was resolved when Little Rock union affiliate president Tony Ellis cut a deal with Clinton Foundation fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. Seventy-five percent of the construction workers on the Clinton Library were union members. Said Sullivan in a parting shot, "Our goal all along has been to ensure all the workers on this very symbolic project receive decent wages and benefits and the protection of a union contract, and it's outrageous that the library board insisted on undercutting that goal."
- David M. Halbfinger, "With Latest Battle Resolves, Clinton Library Work Begins," New York Times, June 7, 2002.
- Sherie Winston, "Building Trades are Furious Over Clinton Library Agreement," ENR: Engineering News-Record, 248.23 (June 17, 2002): 17-18.