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Commentary
Winning labor-friendly legislature depends on what we do… now!

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Bill McCarthy, President, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

The battle to win back a labor-friendly majority in the Minnesota legislature will be won — or lost — in the days remaining until the November 6 election. Will we be able to make enough phone calls? Will we be able to knock on enough doors? Will you make time to volunteer for a phonebank or doorknock shift?

The stakes are high, brothers and sisters. This year we just barely stopped a “Right to Work” amendment from passing the legislature and moving on to the November ballot.

We don’t want to fight that fight all over again come January 2013.

We don’t want a repeat of the last two years, a legislature whose majority was so inflexible and so unwilling to compromise that they were willing to shut down state government, hurting us all.

We need to win a labor-friendly majority in the legislature. We need legislators who will work to move our state forward in partnership with Governor Dayton. We need legislators who will support investments in infrastructure. We need legislators who will restore budgets shifts taken from our kids’ education. We need legislators who will make creating jobs a priority.

During these few weeks, what we do — or what we fail to do — will determine who controls the Minnesota legislature.

To volunteer, contact MRLF organizer Adam Robinson at 612-312-5672 or e-mail adam@minneapolisunions.org

Here at the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, we’ve been working hard with our affiliates and labor volunteers all year — first to beat back anti-labor initiatives during the state legislative session — and now to help elect our labor-
endorsed candidates in the eight legislative contests we’ve now targeted (see candidate profiles).

We’ve carefully screened these candidates and we know they will take the side of middle class, working families — if elected.

If you live in one of these targeted districts, you’ve received or heard your neighbors talking about a flood of campaign mail from corporate-backed groups. These mailings are attacking our labor-endorsed candidates with all sorts of misleading charges. The attacks are truly despicable.

These sorts of attacks fuel cynicism in the political process and just make people want to ignore it all, even stay home and not vote on election day.

In fact, two years ago, enough people did stay home on election day that the Republicans won both houses of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in years.

This year, the election outcomes in a few key districts will determine whether or not we win a labor-friendly majority in the Minnesota House and Senate. And the margin of victory in those races may well come down to just a handful of votes.

That’s where your help is needed. To counter the flood of negative attack mail, we need union members to step up and get involved in our union member to union member voter education effort and then the final “Get-Out-The-Vote” effort.

A union member talking with a union member on the phone or at the door is the most effective thing we can do to support our labor-endorsed candidates.

Your decision to commit to one or more phonebank or doorknock shifts truly can make a difference in this very close election year.

If you’re new to this work, you’ll get some training to help make your voter contacts effective. If you’ve already been volunteering, your experience is valuable and you are needed again.

Let’s not wake up the day after the election, wishing we had done more.

Let’s take the future in our hands, get out the vote, and win back a labor-friendly majority in the Minnesota legislature.

To volunteer, contact, MRLF organizer Adam Robinson at 612-321-5672 or adam@minneapolisunions.org.

Click here for MRLF Get-Out-The-Vote schedule and volunteer opportunities.

 

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