October 15, 2008
Union Influence on the 2008 U.S. Elections
Steve Greenhouse of the New York Times writes about the claimed increasing influence the Change to Win Coalition is having in this presidential election:
Success has many parents, and with Senator Barack Obama gaining a lead in many polls, the Change to Win union federation is claiming that its ads, fliers and volunteers have helped him.
Anna Burger, the president of Change to Win, a federation of seven unions, said its recent campaigning has played an important role in persuading many undecided working-class voters to back Mr. Obama, helping to lengthen his lead.
In a news briefing on Tuesday night, Change to Win officials also said their efforts might enable the Democrats to capture 60 Senate seats, perhaps even 63, up from the 57 that many Democrats were hoping for just three weeks ago. The Democrats have a 51-49 majority.
“We have launched the most aggressive political program that we think any labor movement has ever done,” Ms. Burger said. Officials with the country’s main labor federation, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., which the Change to Win unions broke off from in 2005, might disagree since that federation’s unions are doing intense campaigning as well.
Ms. Burger said a key part of Change to Win’s effort is what she called “our work-site blitzes” in which thousands of union members distribute fliers to co-workers twice a month and pro-Obama union members talk up Mr. Obama with undecided members.
I am really less interested in determining whether the success in getting union voters is because of Change to Win or AFL-CIO efforts. It is probably both and for those like me who are unsatisfied with the current state of labor law in this country and dread another four years of Bush-style labor policies, the important things is to get Obama elected with a sizable majority of Democrats in the Senate.
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