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This Campaign Hits Home for Workers

by Cynthia McCabe  |  October 12, 2012

OAPSE member Deaner Baer
Deaner Baer at an AFSCME-Teamsters GOTV rally in Tolodo, Ohio. (Photo by Cynthia McCabe)

TOLEDO, Ohio – “I take this personally.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders came home to Ohio yesterday for an AFSCME-Teamsters get-out-the-vote rally and brought with him a message that Mitt Romney’s attack on the 47 percent didn’t sit well with him or the American working families the candidate denigrated.

Saunders, the son of a Cleveland bus driver and educator, shared with the crowd that “unions enabled me to be in the middle class.”

Now the middle class is under attack from Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, whose ill-defined policy proposals include raising taxes on working families to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, turning Medicare into a voucher program and repealing Obamacare under which 32 million previously uninsured Americans have quality, affordable health care. The Romney-Ryan ticket also wants to eliminate collective bargaining and paralyze the ability of workers to organize into unions.

AFSCME VotesStanding in the crowd, the recently widowed Deaner Baer takes this campaign personally, too.

For 35 years her husband Jim labored at the Toledo Powertrain plant. When he died after a long illness this summer, Baer, an OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4 member, began receiving his pension, a form of retirement security that she knows is threatened by right-wing politicians eager to turn pensions into riskier 401(k)-style plans. Shortly after her husband died, Baer thanked someone she held directly responsible for helping preserve her husband’s pension: President Obama.

“I met him at an event this summer and I told him, ‘I thank my husband for working for 35 years to take care of us, I thank his union, the United Auto Workers, and I thank you for bailing out the auto industry and keeping his pension safe,” Baer said.

For University of Toledo nurse Randy Desposito, Local 2415 (Council 8), this campaign is personal on a number of levels. “He’s against human rights, civil rights and workers’ rights. Mitt says he’s for the people? He’s not for us.”

Do you take Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and other 1%-first politicians’ attacks on workers personally? Visit AFSCME.org to find out how you can get involved in the next four weeks of the campaign.

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