PA Labor: We Helped Obama Win, Now Turn America Around!

Pennsylvania Labor 2008


Above: Jim Longley, FO SEIU District of 32 BJ Chapter 22 President; Richard Bloomingdale, PA AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer; and Jack Fisher, Erie/Crawford Central Labor Council President with worksite leaflets on Barack Obama’s record of supporting working families

Below: Philadelphia CLC President Pat Eiding; Clay Smith, NALC Local 157; and Priscilla Wilmore, AFT at the Sept 4th Labor Walk in Philadelphia.

Next Step:
Employee Free
Choice Act

Thanks to the thousands of union members and volunteers who gave up countless evenings and weekends to help elect Barack Obama President by an impressive 11 – point margin. Now we enter the next phase of our campaign to Turn Around America with the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. I look forward to continuing our work together and hope to see you all, across the State.

In Solidarity,

Frank Snyder

Pennsylvania State Director
National AFL-CIO


Heading into the holiday season, CLC Presidents and ALF Chairs look back on our victory on November 4th when the labor movement came out in record numbers to be the difference in Pennsylvania and Barack Obama and other AFL-CIO endorsed candidates. It is important to remember that election day was just the beginning and that now that we have a president elect who will sign the Employee Free Choice Act into law the real work starts:

“The election results on November 4th were a great success for the labor movement,” said Dave Antle, Northeast Area Labor Federation Chair and AFSCME District Council 87 Director.  “On a local level we re-elected Congressman Kanjorski and Congressman Carney, and on the national level we elected Barack Obama, a president who will sign The Employee Free Choice Act to law when it reaches his desk.  This is all thanks to the hard work of union members and their families who volunteered with the Labor 2008 program.  Because you were out talking to your fellow union members on labor walks, over the phone at member phone banks, through local union mail and at the work place with leaflets we were able to get our message out to working families and elect candidates that care about our issues.  Though our work is far from over, on November 4th we came together as a movement and made the first step in turning America around by voting for our own interests and electing Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.”

“I think every body in the labor movement did a great job,” said Tom Bates, Bucks County Central Labor Council President. “Every body worked hard and reached out to fellow union members.  We are excited to have re-elected Congressman Patrick Murphy and we are excited to move forward with President Elect Barack Obama.  Because of our hard work we can now work towards getting important legislation passed and get the job done for the labor movement and working families.”

“I know that our efforts produced one of the most successful elections in our history,” said Sam Bianco, The Greater Wilkes-Barre Central Labor Council President. “We were very excited to re-elect Congressman Chris Carney and Congressman Paul Kanjorski, and we were, of course, very excited to help elect Barack Obama.  But our work is not finished.  We now have to take our elected candidates and get them to push through th elegislation that will help working people.  We have to focus on the Employee Free Choice Act and we have to really get to work turning around America for working families all across the country.”

Above: Allegheny County Central Labor Council President Jack Shea leaflets at the Harmar Porth Authority Bus Garage with ATU Local 85 member Ryan McCurdy

Below: Ilene Fonseca, UFCW Local 1776; Nick Farina, UFCW Local 1776; Leslie Meyerson; and John Meyerson, Southeast Area Labor Federation Chair and Montgomery County Central Labor Council President, UFCW Local 1776 at a labor walk in Delaware County

“We heard a lot about the grassroots involvement during this election cycle and that was so evident here in the Philadelphia labor movement,” said Pat Eiding, Philadelphia Area Labor Federation Chair and Philadelphia Central Labor Council President. “Not only did we have a great team of release staff who worked long hours, every day for months to make the program work; every week we had literally hundreds of volunteers going on walks, making calls and passing out leaflets.  It was a true unified effort with over 90 local unions participating and thousands of members volunteering their time from Labor Day to Election Day.  And, now, the real work starts. Getting the Obama/Biden ticket elected was not the end but the beginning of a resurgence of the labor movement and the middle class.”

“I know that it was the hard work of union members all across this state and the country that helped to elect Barack Obama,” said Ernie Esposito, Greater Johnstown Central Labor Council President.  “It was all about the labor walks, the phone banks, the worksite leafleting and the local union mailings.  We made sure to get the message out to all our members that Barack Obama is our candidate and because that information came from other union members it was heard.  We held on to our Congressman John Murtha and our State Representative Jim DeWeese.  Those are two candidates that support the labor movement and we played a huge role in making sure they were re-elected.  The labor movement can be the difference and we showed just how much of a difference we can be this year.”

“We worked hard in Southeastern Pennsylvania and it paid off,” said Dave McLimans, Chester County Central Labor Council President.  “The most important thing we can do now is get back to work.  We need to continue building our momentum and building our program so that we can pass the Employee Free Choice Act.  Now that we elected the people that support our issues we have to continue to remind them to address those issues in order to grow the labor movement and improve the future for working families in America.”

“With all the great success on November 4th I don’t want the important work done by the labor movement in the Southeast and across the state to be forgotten,” said John Meyerson, Southeast Area Labor Federation Chair and Montgomery County Central Labor Council President.  “Every one did a fantastic job by reaching out to fellow union members and making sure they knew the issues and the candidates.  We overcame all the lies and the hype to focus on the real issues that working families face every day and our success on the 4th is a testament to the hard work of the members of the Pennsylvania labor movement.”

Above: Schuylkill County Central Labor Council President and USW Local 719 Recording Secretary Ann Kurtek gets ready to worksite leaflet at USW Local 719

Below: Beaver County Central Labor Council President Dennis Bloom at the labor walk at IBEW Local 712 on election day

“Our victory on November 4th was huge,” said Gregg Potter, Lehigh Valley Central Labor Council President.  “We gained a president that supports our issues and gained six labor-friendly seats in the house.  But our work is not yet done.  Though we are well on our way to getting a new deal for the new millenium we have to keep working.  This is our future and this is our time, we have to go after the Employee Free Choice Act as a united labor movement for the future of the movement and all working families.”

“To have the outcome that we did was really wonderfu,” said Mary Schwanger, Central Area Labor Federation Chair and AFSCME District Council 90 Director. “It was all about the volunteers here in Central Pennsylvania. We were really focused on talking to union members on the phone, through the labor walks  and it was really uplifting for every one to get out and talk to our members and hear directly from them that they were going to support our candidates. I spent the last day before the election walking and it was very powerful and inspiring to talk with union members about how we were going to win this one for us and for all working families.  And that’s exactly what we did!”

“It became apparent to all of us, as union members and as working families, that it was time to put someone in office that will move our country forward and make America better for working families across the country and around the world,” said Jack Shea, Southwest Area Labor Federation Chair and Allegheny County Central Labor Council President. “The AFL-CIO’s Labor 2008 program once again proved to be the right thing at the right time.  Union members in Southwestern Pennsylvania came together like we’ve never seen them do before to work together to make sure every one understood the issues and what was at stake.  Looking forward I know we will apply this same program with even greater success to the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, something that is only on the table because of all of our hard work to elect Barack Obama and other endorsed candidates.”

“Up here in the 3rd District we were just as excited about electing Kathy Dahlkemper to Congress as we were about electing Barack Obama as president,” Dom Vadala, Mercer County Central Labor Council President.  “Now it’s time to bring the candidates along with us and it’s up to the members of the labor movement to do that. We have to remind them of our issues and make sure they know how important the Employee Free Choice Act is to all working families.  We have a strong labor movement here and if we continue to work together we will continue to pass the kind of legislation that will help rebuild the middle class and stregthen the working families of Pennsylvania.”

“What a great time to be a part of the labor movement,” said Wayne Watson, Washington/Greene Central Labor Council President. “The labor movement helped re-elect Congressman John Murtha and Representative Jim DeWeese and those are friends of the labor movement.  The labor movement also helped hold back the wave of votes that John McCain needed in Southwestern Pennsylvania in order to win the state.  It was very satisfying to bring home our candidates this year and I know it will have a huge impact on legislation.  If we continue to educate our members about the issues and legislation that helps working families then we will continue to see an improvement in the action that our elected candidates take.  It is up to the labor movement to shape its own future and we are well on our way to turning America around and giving it back to the working people that built it in the first place.”

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Pennsylvania Labor 2008: It’s Our Time!!

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