AFL-CIO Endorses Obama, Launches 'Meet Barack Obama'
by Tula Connell, Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 09:16:34 AM EDT
I want to share with you all our endorsement today of Sen. Barack Obama. Seth Michaels on our staff has the details below.
The AFL-CIO today endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.
The AFL-CIO General Board, which voted to endorse Obama, includes presidents of all 56 unions in the AFL-CIO, as well as Executive Council members and representatives of state and local federations, trade departments and constituency groups. The General Board votes by per capita membership. In conjunction with the endorsement, the AFL-CIO launched a new website: Meet Barack Obama.
In its endorsement statement, the General Board noted that Sen. Barack Obama "secured the nomination of his party in a campaign that has energized millions of Americans and spoken to the hopes and dreams of people from every corner of our nation."
His leadership can re-engage disenfranchised Americans and bring our country together. Sen. Obama has advocated a change of direction for our nation that mirrors the priorities of the labor movement.
In announcing the endorsement today, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said, "Barack Obama has proven from his days as an organizer, to his time in the Senate and his historic run for the presidency, that he's leading the fight to turn around America." Saying, as a champion for working families, Obama
knows what it's going to take to create an economy that works for everyone, not just Big Oil, Big Pharma, the insurance companies, the giant mortgage lenders, speculators and the very wealthy. We're proud to stand with Sen. Obama to help our nation chart a course that will improve life for generations of working people and our children.
Obama has vowed to fight for working families and for an economy that works for all--and he has the record to prove it. As a church-based community organizer, Obama assisted those affected by closing steel mills. As a state senator in Illinois, he sponsored legislation to expand health care and protect overtime pay. As a U.S. senator, Obama has earned a 98 percent lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO. And all along, he's marched on picket lines and rallied with striking workers.
AFSCME President Gerald McEntee, chairman of the AFL-CIO Political Committee, pledged to "work our hearts out for Barack Obama.
Our program is going to be worker to worker and neighbor to neighbor. We're ready to mobilize. We're ready to rock and roll. This country and our people are ready for change.
Says Electrical Workers (IBEW) President Edwin Hill:
We want to engage our members and all working people on the need for action on the issues that make a difference in our daily lives. It is time to move beyond name calling and division so that our country can take positive action on the challenges we face.
United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard said:
Sen. Obama's plan to revitalize American manufacturing and his commitment to make workers the top priority in any trade agreement give our members hope that his election will lead the country in a new direction that's long overdue, and inspire us to work as never before to secure his victory.
To help educate union members about Sen. Obama's background and his record of fighting for working families, the AFL-CIO has launched a new website, Meet Barack Obama. It features videos, downloadable fliers and a briefing book laying out his positions on issues key to working families.
At the Meet Barack Obama site, you'll learn:
- Obama opposes the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. He supports fair trade that protects jobs and workers.
- Obama has supported workers' rights and pledges to sign the Employee Free Choice Act.
- Obama wants to provide health care for all that cuts costs and improves quality.
- Obama has voted to protect fair pay, overtime protections, prevailing wages and family and medical leave.
- Obama opposes privatizing Social Security.
Margaret Blackshere, a teacher and former president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, says Obama listens to workers and will be a president who fights for their interests. He understands the importance of unions and the need for public policy that protects working families.
He stood by workers again and again. He told me one of the things he learned as a community organizer in Chicago is the difference between being union and nonunion. He saw steel mills closing--and as painful as that was, he saw that if you were in a union, you had somebody to stand up for you.
This year, the AFL-CIO is carrying out its largest grassroots political mobilization in history. Thousands of volunteers are helping educate millions of workers and mobilizing them to get to the polls to elect Barack Obama and a working family-friendly Congress. The AFL-CIO union movement is focusing on mobilizing more than 13 million union voters--including union members, families of members, retirees and members of the AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America--in 24 priority states, working to elect U.S. senators and representatives, as well as state and local candidates.
Meet Barack Obama is an essential part of this unprecedented program. Since our political mobilization efforts began, AFL-CIO volunteers have knocked on more than 60,000 doors and delivered 1.5 million worksite fliers on McCain's economic record. Nearly a half-million mailers on McCain's economic positions have been sent to union swing voters in key battlegrounds.
Check out Meet Barack Obama today and find out more.