Obama seeks to soothe labor's anger over trade with union-friendly economic pitch

Economic Indicators Associated Press

President Barack Obama's push for trade deals with Asia and Europe has angered organized labor, setting up a tense fight with a key element of his voting coalition. But Obama wants to keep the anger to a simmer by pitching economic initiatives straight out of labor's working-class agenda.

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The result is a complicated alliance that has never had a strong bond.

Labor leaders applaud Obama's State of the Union emphasis on expanding the middle class and his calls to raise the minimum wage and increase the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.

But trade remains a sore point with several unions. The consequences could extend to the 2016 presidential contest.