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Unions Unleash the Troops for Obama

Posted on Sep 30, 2008

The Secret Money blog is a joint project of the Center for Investigative Reporting and National Public Radio.

The nation’s most powerful labor unions are ratcheting up their efforts to elect Barack Obama with massive voter outreach campaigns.

The AFL-CIO labor federation announced a new assault on John McCain today, saying it will blanket battleground states with mail, phone calls and personal visits to sway swing voters in the Democratic direction.

A mailer (below) hammering McCain on his health care plan is going out to union voters in Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. The slogan on the back of the mailer says, “John McCain Isn’t For Us.”


Another million flyers will be distributed at workplaces. Volunteers aim to make more than 150,000 phone calls and visit homes throughout the Midwest.

Separately, the Service Employees International Union reported spending $500,000 on Sunday to canvass voters in support of Obama. Both SEIU and the AFL-CIO have said this year’s efforts will be their largest voter mobilization campaigns ever.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports today on union payments in recent years to political firms and nonprofits with personal connections to the union’s leadership. We tracked SEIU’s current web of political influence and money here.

—By Will Evans, Center for Investigative Reporting.

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By lichen, October 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Yes, I think independent cooperatives democratically run by the workers where everyone makes an equal, living wage and rotates/shares positions, etc. is much better than taking the corporate model we have now and adding questionable unions.

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By AG, October 1, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
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I don’t understand the blind faith that the unions put into the democratic party. The democratic party has always put the corporate elite ahead of the public good (and working class) for the last 20 plus years.

If they backed Ralph Nader, then maybe they actually would be reframing the discussion.

As it stands, all the unions are doing is supporting the status quo, which supports the corporate elite.


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By KDelphi, October 1, 2008 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

The unions are so weak in the US, in the EU, they call it the AFL/CIA. Unions are gutted and gutless, and the Dems have sat on their hands and let the Republicans do this.

The DLC did not help

I know US unions think taht Obama is the lesser of two evils. It’;s probably true.

But, anyone, who, after the past couple of mos. , does not think that Obama is just as centrist as Clinton et al, I dont know what you are thinking (or maybe hoping??)

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By Purple Girl, October 1, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

They Go hand and hand. The Womens Movement is Just as Intricately interwoven to Equal Rights.
Hillary made two Fatal Flaws- Tried to Separate Labor From Race and Gender from Race…What a Dumbass!
Labor comes in All Colors and Women and So do Women,thus Bearers of Diversity!
Teddy Not only ‘Passed the Torch’ Directly across the Clintons, he threw the Gaunlet Straight at their Heads- along with the Rest of the Neo CONs in Blue of the DLC.Reason Gore,Kerry Nor Hilalry could seal th edeal with Dems- We could Smell the Corp whore Stench a Mile away. We voted for them, but we had to hold our Noses. But we never came out in full force behind them- because they were the same Party as the Neo Cons (just minus the Religious Right). Really Hilary should have been asked to be mac’s VP, Not only are they great friends, Their Policies are EXACTLY the Same! Reason they kept patting each other on the Back, worked together in an Attempt to bring down Obama and both glorified the possiblity of Pre-emptive Strikes on Iran,’ Bomb bomb bomb Iran’ (Mac)...“Obliterate Iran” ( Hillary)> And I’m betting Hillary Knows What the Bush Doctrine Is since she probably helped Write It or make it even Possible to pull off!heckova Job On The Armed Services Committee with your FRIEND John McCain!
So am I surprised the Big Unions are Pulling out all the Stops for Obama- No They would have before but there was no candidate Who gave a shit about Labor Rights since about 1984! OH And a Big Fucking ‘Thanks’ From the Rust Belt’s buckle Michigan for NAFTA Slick Willy! You revealed your True Color Then. ‘Reagan Democrats’ are disaffected Republicans who resented the influence ‘Religious Right’- So They Jumped ship in ‘84 and Called themselve the ‘Democratic LEADERSHIP Council’! Well they have helped Lead US Right over a Cliff along with their Cohorts in Red!

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By Bill Witherup, September 30, 2008 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
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The Union hierarchies have been sucking up to corporate   America ever since the days of Samuel Gompers. Both AFL-CIO and Change to Win (or Change Your Diaper)practice Gompers-type Business Unionism. The Secretaries and Business Agents of almost all the trade unions have salaries way above that of the rank-and-file workers, and they are not about to give up their perks. Because of the bloated egos of AFL-CIO’s Sweeney, and CTW’s Stern, and the latter’s decision to break away from AFL-CIO, we have an even less united union movement than we might have had otherwise. I am pro union - however, unions need to look back at their history and rediscover some of the courage and vitality that Eugene V. Debs and the Wobblies provided in the early twentieth century. Throw the Pie Cards out and make unions truly democratic, and let the rank-and-file lace up their boots and get out there to kick some corporate ass! - Bill Witherup - Seattle, Washington

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By Xntrk, September 30, 2008 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
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Why would any self-respecting Union Member work to elect Obama when Obama is supporting the Wall Street Bailout for millionaires? Do people want to spend all this time and money to defeat their own best interests?

I had every intention of voting for Obama until I watched last weeks debate. When he bragged about sending a billion dollars to the other Georgia, I got furious. When is the last time we sent a billion to one of our states for reconstruction? Look at New Orleans? the most we could do for them was give them a bunch of poisoned [but cheap] trailers!

Sorry guys, I’ve just had it with politics as usual. Bailout? sure. Lets start by bailing out all those mortgage holders who are defaulting on dishonest loans. If they could pay the mortgage, the banks would have some assets instead of a bunch of bad paper.

McCain supporting Big Money is to be expected, but it makes me sick to my stomach to see OUR candidate suck up to King Henry.

Remember, when a ship is sinking, you start bailing in the bilges and engine room - Not up on the Bridge in Officer’s Country!

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By lichen, September 30, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Obama is not for you, either, unions; you could have ratcheted your support behind Kucinich when you had the chance.

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By Leefeller, September 30, 2008 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Since WWI Corporate America has been screwing the people anyway they can.  Unions have been at times corrupt, but so has our government most of the time.  Unions represent the working people, Government has been representing special interests since they could get away with it. 

Wake up America!

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