The media keeps reporting that working people have an “enthusiasm gap” to overcome heading into Tuesday’s elections. The numbers here in Wisconsin just don’t support that claim.
Over the past week, 917 Labor 2010 volunteers reached out to record numbers of union households. All told, the Wisconsin member-to-member political program has knocked on 52,779 doors and made 118,207 phone calls since our Kick-Off Labor Walk at the end of July. And we aren’t going to let up during the final days of GOTV!
This election is a defining moment for working families. We will either rebuild a fundamentally different economy that values hard work and a strong middle-class or turn back toward one that puts corporate greed before people.
Corporate special interests know the stakes of the election as well as we do. That’s why they’re spending undisclosed and unprecedented amounts of money through the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s front groups to sway the election towards big business candidates.
But no amount of advertising is as effective as our member-to-member outreach. According to UFCW Local 1473 Union Rep. and Political Director Ike Edwards, “The poll numbers are changing and they are moving in the right direction. If we keep our members active ― talking to each other on the phone, at the worksite and at home ― working families candidates can win. But we’ve still got a lot to do to make that happen!”
Edwards is going to continue volunteering with Labor 2010 through Election Day, and he is calling on all union activists to mobilize and turnout out voters.
“I hope to retire in the next seven to nine years. To do so, I will rely on the State of Wisconsin pension system and Social Security,” says Edie MacDougal, registered nurse and member of AFSCME Local 340. “Senator Feingold has fought to protect and strengthen Social Security, and I believe that Tom Barrett is the only candidate for governor who will honor the state’s pension commitments.”
Public employees like MacDougal have a lot at stake in this election. They pay into their pension system, and they often accept lower wages and other concession in favor of retirement security. Contrary to recent attacks, total compensation for public employees is in line with what private sector employees earn for the same types of work.
As MacDougal phone banks in La Crosse, she reminds union voters that we can’t afford to throw away the progress that we have made in the last two years.
“My 23 year-old son works three part time jobs for a total of about 55 hours per week. He is currently unable to purchase health insurance due to a preexisting condition. He needs daily medication and regular visits to the doctor’s office. Starting in January he’ll be covered on my policy thanks to the recently passed health care bill,” says MacDougal. “If Ron Johnson has his way and repeals those reforms, families like mine lose.”
By this time next week, it will be too late to act. By working together on the phones, on the doors, and at the worksites over the next six days, we can turn out union voters and determine the outcome of the midterm elections. It is up to us to make sure that Wisconsin’s elected leaders side with Main Street rather than Wall Street.
Whether your issue is job creation, retirement security, or corporate accountability it is critical that you cast your vote and encourage other working families to do the same. Click here for a GOTV schedule or contact your local Service Area Organizer to find additional volunteer oportunities.
(Top Photo: Heberto Figueroa of SEIU Local 1 encourages fellow union members to support Sen. Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett for Governor during a recent Milwaukee Labor Walk. Photo Credit: Karen Hickey. Middle Photo: Ike Edwards of UFCW Local 1473 leaflets at Kenosha Beef. Photo Credit: Justin Geiger. Bottom Photo: Edie MacDougal of AFSCME Local 340 phone banks in La Crosse. Photo Credit: Andy Thompson. Visit our flickr page for additional Labor 2010 pictures: http://flickr.com/wisaflcio.)