by Clyde Weiss | December 06, 2011
AFSCME’s International Executive Board today unanimously endorsed Barack Obama for a second term as President, citing his achievements on passing a law providing affordable health care for all, his determination to put Americans back to work and improve the economy, and his staunch support for collective bargaining rights.
“President Obama is the only choice for the 99 percent,” said AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee. “We must put people back to work, make the 1 percent pay their fair share, and protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. President Obama will stand up for working families.”
“Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have a prescription for the U.S. economy that was written by the same corporate interests that got us into this mess in the first place. We’ve all seen the depths the right-wing extremists governors will go to at the expense of working families, and we certainly don’t need that type of leadership in the White House. The GOP candidates just don’t get it, they are out of touch with reality. We believe that American voters are smarter than that and will say thanks but no thanks to their 1 percent agenda and work to re-elect President Obama to a second term.”
AFSCME will soon mobilize tens of thousands of activists to meet with other members at their homes, make phone calls, and speak to co-workers and others to get out the vote for the President and other pro-worker candidates nationwide.
The effort will be similar to AFSCME’s one-of-a-kind initiative in 2008 to elect President Obama, in which the union recruited more than 40,000 member and non-member activists, made more than 6 million calls to members and deployed hundreds of staff to 17 battleground states across the country to ensure a victory.
One such supporter, Michael Ebersole, a highway maintenance technician for the Florida Department of Transportation and a member of Local 3106 (AFSCME Council 79), put the Presidential election into clear perspective.
“It’s unbelievable that the GOP leadership and Presidential candidates are so eager to protect the Bush tax breaks for millionaires that they are willing to cut off benefits for the long-term unemployed and repeal a payroll tax cut,” Ebersole said. “President Obama’s call – to invest in innovation and infrastructure that will put people back to work today and build a strong foundation for the future – is what this country needs. I intend to work day and night to ensure this President gets a second term.”
President Obama’s achievements have proven his determination to help the middle class recover from an economic disaster that began under the administration of President George W. Bush. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created at least 2 million jobs nationwide in the first year alone.
President Obama’s health care reform initiative, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, is already lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. The law provides insurance coverage despite patients’ pre-existing conditions, while extending coverage to those 26 and younger through their parents’ health plan. Provisions that become effective in the coming years will make an even greater impact on the health of Americans.
President Obama also is fighting for jobs. His proposal, the American Jobs Act, would provide an infusion of funding to protect the jobs of teachers, police officers and firefighters. It would extend unemployment benefits and modernize public schools, community colleges and other infrastructure projects. Lawmakers are now trying to pass parts of the bill – such as the First Responders Back to Work Act – after Senate Republicans blocked the Jobs Act.
At a time when workers’ rights are being taken away, or threatened, President Obama has proven to be a staunch supporter of collective bargaining. In 2010, he called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) campaign to deny collective bargaining rights to thousands of public service workers, “an assault on unions.” Of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (R) unsuccessful efforts to do the same thing, he said, “I strongly disapprove. Let’s certainly not blame public employees for a financial crisis that they had nothing to do with. And let’s not use this as an excuse to erode their bargaining rights.”
For more about the fight for workers’ rights and the AFSCME activists who are on the frontlines of that Main Street battle, check out this story in the current issue of AFSCME WORKS.