UPDATE 1-UAW support for Trump less than recent GOP candidates -union chief

Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:49pm EDT
 
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(Adds comment from UAW president)

By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said on Friday that about one in four of the union's members favor Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a lower level of support than the UAW gave his 2012 and 2008 predecessors, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

UAW member support was about 28 percent for Romney and just over 30 percent for McCain, Williams said at a press conference at the union's headquarters in Detroit.

A year or so ago, a UAW survey of its members showed 28 percent support for Trump.

"The more and more we educate our members the more they're understanding why we endorsed Hillary Clinton," Williams said of the Democratic presidential nominee.

"Hillary Clinton is way ahead with our membership," he said, without citing a level of support for her.

The union has about 400,000 active members, or more than 1 million members if retirees are included.

Williams also said the union would be able to take specific actions to support the Canadian union Unifor if it called for a strike on General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles . He did not detail what those actions could be.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)