Under Assault by Trump's GOP and Supreme Court, Unions Lead Massive Get Out the Vote Effort for Midterms: 'We Vote, We Win'
In the face of a coordinated, corporate-funded assault on their very existence by President Donald Trump, Republicans at the federal and state level, and the right-wing Supreme Court, labor unions nationwide have mobilized massive numbers of struggling workers to turn out for Tuesday's critical midterms with the goal of defeating anti-union candidates and electing politicians willing to fight for progressive policies that benefit the working class like Medicare for All, a higher minimum wage, and the fundamental right to organize.
"The Culinary Workers Union registered 10,300 voters for the midterms. This union really gets it done. Still impressed by what I saw reporting on them in Vegas."
—David Jamieson, Huffington Post
"We don't know any other way," said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, the Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, which has registered over 10,300 new voters ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections to defeat Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.). "For us, it's a very natural way to survive here in Las Vegas: organize, organize."
With the rallying cry, "We vote, we win!" the union has provided resources for workers to learn about the candidates on the ballot, spread the word about the issues at stake in the midterms, and find the closest polling site.
The Culinary Union's get-out-the-vote efforts have been replicated throughout the nation, including in so-called "right-to-work states," where Republican legislatures have barred unions from collecting dues from all workers they represent in collective bargaining efforts to raise wages and improve working conditions.
"Things aren't changing for the better like they thought would happen. Real wages are not keeping pace with inflation. We haven't replaced the well-paying manufacturing jobs that we lost."
—Tim Burga, Ohio AFL-CIO
In Southern states like North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia, the Communications Workers of America (CWA)—which represents 700,000 workers nationwide—say it organized canvassing, mail, and phone bank operations that resulted in over four million door knocks."
In the Midwest, where workers have suffered from decades of deindustrialization, corporate outsourcing, and neglect from politicians who so often claim to care about their plight, the AFL-CIO says it has convinced thousands of union workers who backed Donald Trump in 2016 to turn out for progressive Democrats on Tuesday.
"About half of union households that voted for Trump said they are planning to vote for Democrats in two key statewide races," Vox reported on Monday, citing figures from the Ohio AFL-CIO. "That includes 51.4 percent of Trump voters who plan to cast a ballot for progressive Democrat Richard Cordray for governor and 49.9 percent of Trump voters who favor incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown—the only Democrat currently holding statewide office."
Tim Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, said many union workers who initially backed Trump have realized after two years of plutocratic policies and stagnant wages that the president and his billionaire-filled cabinet are not on their side, and never were.
"Things aren't changing for the better like they thought would happen," Burga said. "Real wages are not keeping pace with inflation. We haven't replaced the well-paying manufacturing jobs that we lost."
With a historic number of House Democratic candidates backing Medicare for All, National Nurses United (NNU)—the largest organization of registered nurses in the U.S.—has also been tirelessly canvassing and phone banking in Maryland, Florida, and the many other states where candidates are standing up to America's disastrous for-profit healthcare industry.
See NNU's full list of all 225 House Democratic candidates running on Medicare for All here.