No Republican Photo Op at This Steelworkers Plant
by Tula Connell, Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 06:27:39 AM EDT
Unions are in high gear getting out the vote around the country. There's so much going on, it's hard to capture it all. But wanted to share with you a slice of what it's like in the field. Mike Hall, who blogs for us at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., is in heavily Republican WI CD 8, Green Bay, Wis., where he's phone banking, walking door to door talking with union members--and much more. Here's his latest dispatch from the North (cross-posted from AFL-CIO Now).
Talk about Rapid Response. Last week in Green Bay, the big chiefs at the Georgia-Pacific paper plant thought they had the picture perfect photo op for Republican 8th Congressional District candidate John Gard--a plant tour where he could mingle with a bunch of happy workers.
After all, anybody who might spot the photo wouldn't know that the 500-plus United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9 members at the plant are strongly and actively backing Gard's opponent Steve Kagen. The long-held Republican seat is up for grabs and could be one of the 15 turn-around races that will end Republican House rule.
Well you gotta get up pretty early to pull a fast one on educated union members.
Dan Vandenbush, USW District 2 staff rep, says he received a phone tip about two hours before the scheduled visit.
We got out a whole bunch of Kagen stickers out to everybody. Jeff (USW Local 9 president Jeff Welhouse) ran across town for signs. When Gard got there, there were about two dozen people with Kagen signs to greet him and when he got into the plant almost everybody was stickered up. I don't think they wanted a picture of their guy surrounded by Steelworkers covered in Kagen stickers. What could they do, put black bars across them or fuzz them out?
Welhouse knows how important this election is for working families--this fall and down the road.
This could really lay the groundwork for 2008. If we can get a majority in Congress this time, we'll be able to put a stop to some of Bush's [expletive]. If we get a president who's on our side in 2008, we can start passing bills--boom-boom-boom--that'll help working people...help us organize like the [Employee Free Choice Act].
Local 9 and other USW locals are teamed up with Green Bay area unions as part of the AFL-CIO's Labor 2006 drive to elect lawmakers such as Kagen and re-elect Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) who will fight for working family issues and stand up against the Bush-backed corporate agenda.
Click here to volunteer for Labor 2006 and we'll keep you posted on upcoming actions.
If you're not a union member, join Working America, the AFL-CIO community affiliate, and join the fight for good jobs, affordable health care, quality education and secure retirements.
Expenses incurred in this posting paid for by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee, 815 16th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006, with voluntary contributions from union members and their families, and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.