Clinton asks union group to 'be my partner' in White House bid
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about her environmental plan during a visit to the LEED Platinum certified DART Central Station in Des Moines, Iowa July 27, 2015. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

Hillary Clinton on Thursday asked the country's largest labor union federation, the AFL-CIO, "to be my partner" as she seeks the Democratic nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

After meeting with union leaders, Clinton said she wants the Obama administration's proposed Pacific trade deal to meet tests on worker protection and higher wages.

Clinton is seeking the union group's endorsement, which would bring both prestige and many thousands of grassroots organizers to her campaign ahead of the November 2016 election.

"I made it clear to them that raising incomes was at the center of my economic agenda. I think it’s the defining challenge of our times and that’s why I put out a plan for strong growth, fair growth and long-term growth," she told reporters after talks with the AFL-CIO.

Her Democratic rivals for the nomination, liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, are trying also to get the nod from the AFL-CIO at its executive council meeting this week in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring.

The AFL-CIO’s political committee has recommended holding off on an endorsement as it seeks to push Democratic front-runner Clinton to be more supportive of its policies on issues such as trade and wages.

Clinton is under pressure from the left to take a tough stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade deal backed by President Barack Obama but vigorously

opposed by unions that see it as detrimental to jobs and wages in the United States.