They said they were going to get in your face. And they meant it. The Fishwrap of Record sends word that union bosses will unleash hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file workers on America in a second attempt to bully voters into putting their man, Barack Obama, in the White House.
As the A.F.L.-C.I.O. prepares to endorse President Obama on Tuesday, labor leaders say they will mount their biggest campaign effort, with far more union members than ever before — at least 400,000, they say — knocking on voters’ doors to counter the well-endowed “super PACs” backing Republicans.
The same Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that set the stage for these political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allowed unions to send their foot soldiers to visit not just union members at home, but also voters who do not belong to unions — a move expected to increase labor’s political clout significantly in this year’s elections.
Unions first used their expanded ability in a big way in Ohio last November to educate and mobilize both union and nonunion voters in a battle to repeal a law that curbed bargaining rights for Ohio’s teachers, firefighters and other public employees. Spurred by 17,000 union volunteers, labor won in a blowout, with Ohioans voting 62 percent to 38 percent to repeal a law that the Republican-dominated Legislature had enacted seven months earlier.
“That was a pretty big wake-up call to the Republican Party and also to the Democratic Party, because it showed what labor unions can do when they’re motivated and can reach out to voters across the board,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Be on guard.