WASHINGTON -- October 21 -- With the largest member mobilization and political program in its history, the union movement has more than tripled its mobilization efforts over 2000, and is positioned to be one of the most important voices among voters in key states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.
Everywhere I visit, I find that union members are motivated as never before to bring about a change in the direction of our nations leadership, said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. They want good jobs, affordable health care and a real future for their families, and theyre willing to walk in the cold and spend their evenings phone calling in order to secure that better future. Ive never seen anything like it.
Union household members are one out of four voters. There were 27 million union household voters in 2000.Union members voted for the working family ticket by at 63 to 32 percent margin in 2000, according to election night polling by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Union household members were 36 percent of the electorate in Ohio and 30 percent in Pennsylvania in 2000.
The union movement has escalated its Labor 2004 program on every front, with more full-time staff in the field, more volunteers, and more member contacts than in years past. There are 4500 paid staff working full-time on the program now and that number will increase to 5000 by election day up from 1500 in 2000. The numbers of staff in only three states in 2004 - - Ohio (539), Pennsylvania (662) and Florida (414) - - exceeds the total number nationwide in 2000.
Over 113,000 volunteers have participated in the Labor 2004 program so far, and that number will double by election day.
The volunteers are knocking on doors seven days a week, phone calling hundreds of thousands of their co-workers and passing out millions of leaflets at their workplaces. Union members are reaching out at 257 phone banks with 2322 lines running in 16 states. Union members have passed out more than 32 million leaflets at workplaces including 885,000 in Wisconsin alone.
Research shows the union program is effective. In 2004, more than 90 percent of union members will receive information through multiple contacts. In 2000, 62 percent of union members decided their vote based on the issues, compared to 12 percent who vote by party.
Working America, the AFL-CIOs new national organization for working people, is making a significant impact on voters. Working America has 750,000 members, and is in touch with a total of 1.1 million members of working family households, offering information on where the candidates stand on such key issues as jobs, health care and overtime pay. In Ohio, for example, Working America is reaching out to 340,000 members. That is in addition to 892,000 traditional union members in Ohio.
The AFL-CIO is the umbrella organization for Americas union and represents 13 million working men and women nationwide.
A sampling of the hundreds of upcoming labor walks and events include:
Date City Time Event
October 21 Orlando, FL 5 p.m. Walk (Event will include national labor leader)
October 23 Jacksonville, FL 12 noon Walk (Event will include national labor leader)
October 23 Las Cruces, NM 3 p.m. Walk (Event will include national labor leader)
October 23 Cleveland, OH 10 a.m. Walk
October 23 Philadelphia, PA 9 a.m. Walk
October 23 Milwaukee, WI 10 a.m. Walk
October 23 Las Vegas, NV 10 a.m. Walk
October 30 York, PA 9 a.m. Rally and walk (Event will include national labor leaders and mayor)