Organized Labor Mobilizes For Congressional Candidate John Plumb
The WNYALF, Central Labor Councils, The IBEW, NYSUT & The USW Playing Major Roles In ‘Getting Out The Vote’
(THE SOUTHERN TIER OF NEW YORK STATE) – Democratic Congressional Candidate John Plumb is receiving unprecedented support from Organized Labor in his campaign to unseat Republican Tom Reed, to the tune of several individual and major Labor Organizations and Unions heavily involving themselves by providing additional boots on the ground and intensified phone-banking and door-to-door actions.
In fact, Union Officials tell WNYLaborToday.com that the New York State AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) have brought in their Political Action Representatives from across the New York to work on challenger Plumb’s campaign, which they believe has a very good chance of unseating the incumbent Reed.
“I feel like (Organized Labor) is doing a lot of ‘good work.’ One of our Staff Organizers (Peter DeJesus) has been spending ‘a lot of time’ in the Southern Tier over the past several weeks, helping coordinate Labor Walks and other actions,” Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation (WNYALF) President Richard Lipsitz (Pictured below, in the middle, with WNYALF Staff Organizers Peter DeJesus on the left and Chris Borgatti on the right/WNYLaborToday.com Photo) tells Your On-Line Labor Newspaper.
“John (Plumb) is a ‘very fine’ candidate. He’s from the Jamestown area and he’s a young man with a ‘fine’ military and government service record. We’re ‘very happy’ he came forward (to challenge Reed). It is ‘completely possible’ to ‘pull an upset’ in that race,” Lipsitz said.
Jamestown AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President David Wilkinson, who also serves as Business Manager of IBEW Local 106 in that Southern Tier city, tells WNYLaborToday.com the Council’s affiliated Member Unions and the IBEW have been “working hard” to turn the 23rd Congressional District (which consists of either all of and parts of the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Yates) from “red to blue.”
“Plumb was a ‘wonderful choice’ (as a candidate),” Wilkinson said. “And he has a ‘wonderful chance’ to win. He has ‘name recognition’ and ‘once you get the word out’ (on who he is and the issues he supports), reaction has been ‘very favorable’ with John Plumb.”
The IBEW has also ratcheted up its individual effort to get Plumb elected by bringing it its Statewide Political Director, Ellen Redmond, to oversee the Union’s actions, as well as receiving support from its Brother Locals that represent more than 3,500 Workers across Western New York: Local 41 in Orchard Park; Local 237 in Niagara Falls; Local 86 in Rochester; Local 241 in Ithaca; and Local 139 in Elmira. In addition, Local 237 has sent down Staffer Mark Grozio, an elected member of the Niagara County Legislature, to lend his expertise, Wilkinson added.
“It’s ‘big’ to have (Redmond) here. It’s never happened in New York State before where the IBEW’s sent in their Political Director. It’s is all being organized out of Long Island. And from what I’m led to believe, the IBEW is the ‘first’ Union to endorse John. We’re initiating a ‘push’ to get his (lawn) signs out, manning phone banks and handing out palm cards,” said Wilkinson, who added Plumb’s father served as the IBEW Local 106’s attorney during the 90s.
On Thursday, November 3rd, Labor in the Southern Tier will take part in a Democratic Salute to Labor Dinner that is held each year in Jamestown. IBEW Third District International Vice President Don Siegel will travel from Philadelphia to take part, said Wilkinson, which tells you how important this Congressional race is turning out to be.
Meanwhile, Cattaraugus-Allegany Central Labor Council President Anna Geronimo, who also serves as NYSUT’s Southwestern New York Regional Staff Director, tells WNYLaborToday.com that “there is a lot of support” for Plumb in her neck of the woods.
“We’re doing phone banks and Labor Walks across both counties and ‘focusing on getting out the vote’ for John,” Geronimo said. “And I know the United Steelworkers have four people working full time across the district, from Salamanca to Olean and through Allegany County. We’ve also hosted some ‘meet and greets’ with John so he could get out and individually meet with NYSUT Members across the district.”
“I think (Plumb’s) stand on the issues, like trade, the economy and jobs, are ‘so different’ than that of Reed. There ‘haven’t been a lot of jobs created here while Reed’s been in office.’ ‘They’ve been hard to find.’ John has more of a ‘pro-active’ stance and people are being ‘energized’ by what he has to say.”
WNYALF Staff Organizer Peter DeJesus tells Your On-Line Labor Newspaper that Plumb has received a “large number” of endorsements from Organized Labor, which include: The New York State AFL-CIO; the Southern Tier Building & Construction Trades Council; the IBEW; the United Steelworkers (USW); the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW); the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF); the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA); NYSUT; the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT); the Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); the Communication Workers of America/Western New York Council (CWA); Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 Health Care Workers East; the United Auto Workers (UAW); the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)/Branch 3; the Ironworkers; the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME); the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET); and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
“I’m spending three to four days a week here in the Southern Tier on the campaign,” DeJesus said. “And it’s ‘going real well.’ We’re targeting the ‘entire’ district and going door to door. The help we’re getting from the USW is ‘huge’ too. We want the effort to be ‘driven’ by the Central Labor Councils to ‘increase the political will’ in this region. NYSUT is ‘also on the ball.’ This is a ‘vast’ district, but we’re ‘covering it all.’
“I think all who are involved ‘honestly believe’ in this candidate,” DeJesus said of Plumb. “And I’m ‘seeing a buzz’ across John’s campaign. He was born and raised here, he has a ‘tremendous’ military background and he’s a ‘very likeable’ guy.”
WNYLaborToday.com was also able to reach Plumb, who told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper: “The campaign is ‘going great’ and I’m ‘very proud’ of the support we’ve received from Organized Labor. It’s a ‘fight for them.’ They are the ‘last vestige’ of the Middle Class. The guy I’m running against is ‘truly against what Labor supports.’ And people are ‘tired’ of what Tom Reed ‘hasn’t done.’ The votes Reed has cast in Congress ‘really go against’ what Labor represents. It’s ‘more than just being at odds’ with someone (currently) in office.”