On Sunday organized labor held a joint rally in Denver expressing a sign of unity after years of in-fighting and separation. Jesse Russell reports:
In 2005 a split formed in the labor movement when a number of labor unions broke off from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win Federation. On Sunday, those differences were set aside as unions took part in a joint rally to support Presidential candidate Barack Obama. In a sign of mending, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney introduced Change to Win President Anna Burger and while she told reporters afterward “there is no going back” she did say the two federations will work together when they can. National Education Association President Reg Weaver spoke at the rally and channeled Muhammad Ali as he described how organized labor will fight back against labor opponents:
By Doug Cunningham
[Ackerman]: “Union families are really charged up and ready to move in a different direction, a direction that will really rebuild the middle class in this country.”
AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman, speaking from the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Ackerman says both Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a strong record of solidarity with working families on the issues. She acknowledges, though, that Obama is having difficulty attracting more white working class voters.
[Ackerman 2]: “The issue really is that there is an unfamiliarity with Barack Obama. He’s fairly new on the scene and there are a lot of union voters – white working class voters as you say- who are not yet familiar with him. McCain is not talking about economic issues,. Barack Obama is talking about economic issues. But this is about economic issues. This is about the direction of this country for working families. This is about rebuilding the middle class.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a new report Friday that shows the cornerstone of working families’ retirement security remains on darn solid footing after 73 years of never missing a payment—and will for decades to come.
The PASS Executive Board announced the endorsement in recent days, pointing to Obama’s support of good jobs, transportation safety and workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain.
PASS President Tom Brantley says Obama’s legislative record and policy proposals earned him the support of PASS and its more than 11,000 members.
After weighing the positions of the candidates on several important issues that affect the work life of PASS members, PASS is confident in its support of Sen. Obama. Sen. Obama has proven himself to be a champion of aviation safety and workers’ rights. FAA employees are in need of that type of support, and PASS believes that, as he has done in the past, Sen. Obama will continue to recognize the important work. PASS members perform everyday to keep this country safe.
Work hard, play by the rules, and the American Dream will be yours. Not so anymore for America’s workers, as MIT Management professor Thomas Kochan points out from Denver. Kochan, who is blogging from the Democratic National Convention, writes on The Huffington Post that the
question of what it will take to renew the American Dream for working families will be front and center as Democrats meet at their convention next week. Indeed, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have made “Renewing the American Dream” the theme of their domestic policy platform and vision for the future.
Many working families are just getting to know Sen. Barack Obama, and the convention offers a great chance to do so. Kochan, who is co-director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research, writes:
Those of us who have been working on labor and employment issues in the campaign know that Senator Obama is committed to a comprehensive, detailed, forward-looking action plan. It starts by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act to restore workers’ ability to join a union and get a collective bargaining agreement and by ensuring all working parents have access to paid sick leave and supporting state-level initiatives to provide paid family leave.
This in from the field.
The Eagleton Institute of Politics hosted the 12th Annual Labor Candidates School of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO earlier this month. Twenty-two rank-and-file union members running for local office participated in interactive exercises and heard from leading experts on fundraising, election law, research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting and get-out-the-vote efforts.
The Labor Candidates School is the cornerstone of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s successful COPE program. After the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates program began in 1997, union members won 499 elections to public office. This year’s graduates will include the 500th union member elected to public office through the labor candidates program.
More than 500 workers at AT&T Mobility in Boardman, Ohio, and municipal workers in Stillwater, Okla., are now union members after choosing the Communications Workers of America (CWA) through a majority sign-up.
Some 262 city workers in Stillwater had to twice file cards showing majority support for joining CWA Local 6012. The first time was in April, when more than 65 percent of the workers signed cards seeking representation. They should have been granted recognition, according to the state’s collective bargaining law for municipal employees. But the city managers, who oppose the workers’ desire for a union, claimed that many of the signature cards were too old.
More than 2,000 union members and their families converged in Denver Aurg. 24 to begin the 2008 Democratic National Convention—and the fall’s unprecedented union mobilization—with an afternoon rally.
Union delegates to the convention were joined by working families from across Colorado who came out to mobilize for a massive effort to elect Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden as president and vice president this fall.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney cited the high stakes in the election and the differences between the records of Obama and Sen. John McCain on the issues that matter to working families. He said the union movement gathered for the rally, and the political effort unions already are carrying out, will make the critical difference in the election.
It is important to note that we are united in our determination to Turn Around America. And by “united” I mean all of us—the AFL-CIO, the NEA, Change to Win, 17 million members, 28 million potential voters from union households—all of us together. We are united behind two champions of a better America—Barack Obama and Joe Biden—an incredible choice.
The issue of race in this presidential campaign is one we talk around, or whisper about, or don’t discuss publicly at all. Or, as with some McCain supporters, the issue of race is used as an ugly bludgeon in the spirit of Jim Crow.
But AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka is taking the issue head on. Beginning with a recent speech to the United Steelworkers and continuing in other union venues, Trumka directly addresses how working people can, and must, combat the racism of those who say they will not vote for a black man as president. In addressing union leaders, Trumka also speaks to all of America’s workers:
There’s not a single good reason for any worker—especially any union member—to vote against Barack Obama. There’s only one really bad reason to vote against him: because he’s not white.