167 Union Volunteers in Action Across Kentucky [BLOG.AFLCIO.ORG]
In one of the largest statewide labor walks ever held in Kentucky, 167 union activists walked door to door Saturday to talk with union members about the upcoming election in which Steve Beshear is challenging anti-worker Gov. Ernie Fletcher for office.
Despite Beshear's 20-point lead in the polls, union members in Kentucky are not sitting back. Fletcher has canceled bargaining rights for state employees, privatized Kentucky's Medicaid program and pushed to repeal the prevailing wage law and implement anti-union "right to work" for less legislation. Beshear opposes so-called "right to work" legislation and has affirmed his support of safeguards for the prevailing wage, employee bargaining, the need for affordable health care and good jobs.
After our state kickoff walk last week in which more than 400 volunteers went door to door in Jefferson County, we continue to knock on thousands of union doors across the state, with walks this weekend in Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah and Pikeville.
In Paducah, where 34 volunteers turned out, Jeff Wiggins, Northern Kentucky AFL-CIO Labor Council president, notes:
"I've been the Northern Kentucky Central Labor Council President since 2000, this is the largest labor walk we've ever held in Paducah."
Union members taking part in the Paducah walk include: AFSCME, AFT, Alliance for Retired Americans, Fire Fighters (IAFF), IronWorkers, Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, UAW and United Steelworkers (USW).
Tim Smith, coordinator of the area that includes Owensboro, said the walk there was "larger than any Labor 2004 or Labor 2006 labor walk--and it is only the first one so far this year."
Members from the Electrical Workers (IBEW), Operating Engineers (IUOE), the Kentucky Education Association, Mine Workers (UMWA), Sprinkler Fitters, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA), UAW and USW took part.
Donnie Colston, coordinator for the area that includes Louisville, said, "Despite more than 400 walkers last week for our kickoff, nearly 60 more union volunteers showed up this week to walk with us again." Colston concludes:
Union members refuse to take anything for granted.
Those union members are part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), IBEW, Laborers (LIUNA), Machinists (IAM), UAW, USW, Working America and more.
Meanwhile in Lexington, where 42 volunteers turned out, area coordinator Mike Donta said:
"This is the one of the largest walks we've ever had in Lexington."
Members of AFT, Carpenters, CWA, IAFF, IBEW, Iron Workers, LIUNA, Office and Professional Employees, UAW, USW and Utility Workers (UWUA) all took part.
Pikeville's 10 volunteers were part of history, said coordinator Eddie Bowling:
"This is first time we've ever held a labor walk in all Eastern Kentucky. "