PI Original Mose Buchele Wednesday August 6th, 2008, 9:16am

AFL-CIO Meets In Chicago To Map Obama Strategy

Many top AFL-CIO officials see this presidential election as a
make-or-break moment for the unions. So with an added sense of
urgency and deeper pockets than ever before, they are meeting this week in
Chicago to chart labor's role this campaign season. From an ...

Many top AFL-CIO officials see this presidential election as a make-or-break moment for the unions. So with an added sense of urgency and deeper pockets than ever before, they are meeting this week in Chicago to chart labor's role this campaign season. From an article in today's Tribune:

In terms of dollars and personnel, the labor group's election plans are its most ambitious, union officials said. They expect a quarter of a million volunteers to take part in 510 races on the federal and state level, the officials said.

The AFL-CIO plans to spend $53.8 million on election efforts and its member unions are expected to kick in an additional $200 million on local and national campaigns, officials said.

At the meeting the Executive Council is discussing a multi-pronged effort which involves highlighting John McCain's anti-union positions and simultaneously pushing back against smears about Obama. Most recently, the AFL-CIO sent out a mailing to 600,000 union households in swing states challenging anti-Obama lies and outlining the candidate's pro-worker positions.

The labor group also appears very conscious of the role race might play in winning over union voters, many of whom are older white men.

Michigan AFL-CIO leader [Mark] Gaffney said he has also come away from meetings here with a new line to help in the campaign. It's from AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, who has been talking with unions about the need to face racism within their ranks. [...]

"[T]here's not a single good reason for any worker—especially any union worker—to vote against Barack Obama."

"There's only a bad reason: because he's not white."

The talks have have also been policy-focused. Barack Obama spoke in a teleconference to the group yesterday about issues central to labor in the U.S.:

Obama pledged his support for the Employee Free Choice Act, new fair trade policies that don’t reward companies for shipping jobs overseas, a major job-creating investment in rebuilding and repairing infrastucture and a new energy economy.

The AFL-CIO is approximately 10 million strong, a voting block that Obama said yesterday he was counting on to carry him to victory in November.

Comments

See Trumka's great speech on racism and Obama at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QIGJTHdH50

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