Special Election Report: This Time, Labor Triumphs!
When AFSCME activists mobilize against anti-worker policies, we get out and vote, and urge others to do the same. On Nov. 8, our activists did all that and won.
The Green Machine, in coordination with the AFL-CIO and with the help of our many allies, sent a clear message on Election Day: Union members are a political force to be reckoned with, and we won't be ignored! Here are some of the places where AFSCME made a big difference:
The Terminator was terminated. Hundreds of AFSCME volunteers and their allies helped crush all four ballot initiatives sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). AFSCME members distributed some 500,000 flyers, mailed 317,000 pieces of literature and posted 15,000 yard signs. "In the past, bad things have started in California, but we nipped this one in the bud," says President McEntee. "Working people brought home a huge victory, and beat back Schwarzenegger's taxpayer-funded vendetta against public workers."
"Paycheck Deception" — Proposition 75 — went down by a resounding 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent. It was designed to weaken the political clout of workers and unions by prohibiting unions from using a portion of dues or fees for political activities unless the member gives his or her annual, signed consent. It did not impose the same constraints on public corporations. State spending — Proposition 76 — drew a 62 percent "no" vote. It would have given the governor the authority to unilaterally make devastating, mid-year budget cuts if revenues fell below expenditures. Two other propositions would have lengthened the number of years public school teachers need before obtaining tenure and authorized a panel of judges, appointed by the governor, to draw legislative-district boundaries in a way that could increase the number of anti-worker representatives.
In the gubernatorial contest, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D) knocked out Doug Forrester (R), 54 percent to 43 percent. A statewide get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort by more than 400 AFSCME activists helped turn the tide. They passed out more than 100,000 flyers at worksites, and AFSCME International's Polling Center placed 65,000 calls to members.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) won re-election over Democrat Fernando Ferrer, 59 percent to 39 percent. Bloomberg was endorsed by DC 37 and DC 1707. AFSCME members made some 300,000 phone calls on his behalf and sent out numerous mailings.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine defeated former Atty. Gen. Jerry Kilgore (R), by a six-point margin, in the race for governor. AFSCME poured financial resources into GOTV operations in the state.
AFSCME-backed Democrat Chris Coleman solidly trounced incumbent St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, 69 percent to 31 percent. Kelly betrayed his Democratic constituents last year by endorsing President Bush. In addition to local union efforts, AFSCME's Polling Center made 116,000 calls to union members for Coleman.