November 13, 2006
FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS BRING FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE, MINIMUM WAGE TO THE BALLOT BOX
(Washington, D.C.) -In the final weeks of the election, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) from across the country mobilized their co-workers, neighbors, and communities in a massive GOTV effort on behalf of pro-health care reform candidates and legislative initiatives that work for working families. UFCW members were engaged in nearly every important election across the country-from Deval Patrick’s groundbreaking election in Massachusetts to Jerry McNerney’s upset Congressional victory in Stockton, Calif. Their efforts paid off as dozens of candidates committed to health care reform and other worker issues were elected at all levels of state and local government.
“”Working families voted, and working families won,”” said Joe Hansen, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “”That’s the simple explanation for the results of Tuesday’s election.””
The UFCW’s complete grassroots effort in Iowa brought new leadership to both state legislative chambers, two new pro-worker members of Congress, and a governor who understands the issues working families face. A top-to-bottom campaign in Michigan helped to change leadership in the State House there as well as re-electing Governor Granholm and Senator Stabenow. In addition to political races, UFCW members targeted state legislative campaigns as well. Faced with the threat of right-to-work-for-less legislation in Indiana, UFCW members mobilized and helped to change the leadership in the State House to candidates who oppose that anti-worker legislation.
Working with their own local unions, and together with both Change to Win and AFL-CIO affiliated locals, UFCW members used phones, mail, literature and member-to-member canvasses not only to get out the vote, but to inform people about issues like health care, minimum wage, and the right to join a union. More than a quarter million pieces of mail were sent to UFCW members in targeted states and districts.
“”Though the election is over, our members’ work is not over,”” Hansen said. “”In January, we’ll begin holding our newly elected leaders accountable on the issues on which they were elected. Our members will leverage their hard-fought political and legislative victories to push for meaningful health care reform, to improve the economy for working people, to secure real retirement security, and to help workers gain a voice on the job.””