April 20, 2014

We will not back down

By UTU International President Mike Futhey
and SMWIA General President Joe Nigro – 

We are just months from one of the most important Election Days in our careers.

Not in our lifetimes has organized labor been under attack as we are today from corporate-funded anti-worker conservatives in state legislatures and Congress who are attacking collective bargaining rights, workplace safety laws and regulations and the ability of workers to finance their union activities.

They want to turn Medicare into a voucher system and slash payments, raise the age for benefits under Railroad Retirement, eliminate Amtrak and reduce funding for public transit.

We will not back down in defense of what labor has achieved for working families.

The UTU PAC and the SMWIA PAL are collaborating to support worker-friendly candidates at the state and federal levels.

We also point with pride to the successful roles played by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund as well as get-out-the-vote efforts by members of the UTU and the SMWIA.

These activist brothers and sisters helped achieve a ballot-box defeat of an Ohio law that would have curtailed collective bargaining rights, and engineered the recall of anti-union senators in Wisconsin, restoring control of the Senate to a labor-friendly Democratic majority. They also succeeded in forcing the Wisconsin governor — the architect of that state’s legislation to scrap collective bargaining rights for public employees — to face a recall election.

While we cannot match the dollars of the corporate elite who are funding anti-worker candidates, we have a more potent weapon – the steadfast eagerness of working families to knock on doors and make phone calls to get out the vote on Election Day.

The men and women in the American labor movement vote in greater numbers than most any other group of voters, and if we are to stop this attack on workers on Election Day, we must energize even more of our friends and family members to register to vote and go to the polls on Election Day in support of worker-friendly candidates.

The UTU website provides a button that, with one click, takes you to a website allowing you to verify your voter registration and to register to vote if you are not registered: http://utu.org/voter-registration-guide/

Your job security, good wages, benefits and workplace safety laws and regulations are directly related to political action by working families. Together, we can defeat the corporate-fueled attack on workers.

Within the UTU and the SMWIA, now is the time for each of us to ensure we are registered to vote, to pledge at least $1 a day to our respective UTU PAC and SMWIA PAL, and commit our time and energy in helping to get out the vote on Election Day.