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Unions Are ‘Encouraging Their Members To Run For Public Office More Than Ever Now & It’s Paying Off’ – Also, Results From Several Races From Across Western New York & Downstate Involving Union Candidates

Did You Know That the National AFL-CIO Backed About 1,500 Union Members In The 2018 Elections & Two-Thirds Of Them Won?

Published Wednesday, November 6, 2019
by Amanda Terkel/The Huffington Post
Unions Are ‘Encouraging Their Members To Run For Public Office More Than Ever Now & It’s Paying Off’ – Also, Results From Several Races From Across Western New York & Downstate Involving Union Candidates Editor’s Note: Your On-Line Labor Newspaper highlighted the campaigns of several Union Members who ran for Public Office during the 2019 November Election, including: Westchester-Putnam AFL-CIO Central Labor Body Director Jennifer Puja, who won her race for the White Plains Common Council; and Joe Cantafio, a New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Member and President of the West Seneca Teachers Association, who won a seat on the West Seneca Town Council.  However, several others were not successful, including: Dan Maloney, the President of the Rochester-Genesee Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation and President of United Auto Workers Local 1097, who ran for the Monroe County Legislature; United Steelworkers 2001 Member Amanda Irons-Rindfleisch, who ran for a seat on the Pendleton Town Board in Niagara County; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2104 Member Trevor Ganshaw, who ran for a seat on the Niagara County Legislature; and Buffalo Teachers Federation Executive Board Member Nicole Herkey, who ran for a seat on the West Seneca Town Council.


Labor Unions are seeing a surge of support.

They’re more popular than they have been at any point in the last 15 years and a majority of Americans believe that the declines in Union Membership are bad for the country.

Democratic Presidential Candidates are embracing Unions, appearing on picket lines and talking about strengthening the Labor Movement in ways the party hadn’t for much of the past decade

In turn, the Labor Community is increasingly recognizing the need to get its Members into public office - and putting more resources into doing so.

 “For years and years and years, we’ve been told that the economy ‘is like the weather: There’s nothing you can do about it,’” National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says. “That’s ‘simply not true.’  The economy’s ‘nothing but a set of rules and those rules are made by the men and women we elect.’  ‘For decades, those rules have been designed for us to lose and for the rich and powerful to win.’”

In the 2018 election cycle, the Labor Federation endorsed about 1,500 Union Members for elected office at the Local, State and Federal levels.  

Most were Democrats, but there were also some Republicans and Independents.

Two-thirds of them won.

In 2019, 88 Union Candidates endorsed by the AFL-CIO have won in Spring and Summer Elections, and it has nearly 500 candidates running this Fall.

The Union has also launched a new website about the impact of its Candidate Program. 

The focus on getting Union Members into office came out of a resolution at the AFL-CIO’s 2017 Convention affirming an “urgent need” to step up such efforts.

Historically, Unions have had a large role in elections, fielding candidates and providing money and boots on the ground.

As a result, the AFL-CIO’s State Federations and Central Labor Council Affiliates have played a key part in identifying, recruiting and electing Union Members.

The New Jersey AFL-CIO, for example, has been running a program that has led to more than 1,000 of its members getting elected to public office since 1997. 

Unions like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which is part of the AFL-CIO, have been out front and vocal about their election work. 

Once in office, Union Members have helped push back against groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has successfully advanced Conservative priorities - things like “stand Your Ground” and Anti-Immigrant Laws - at the State level for years

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