IP Tom Buffenbarger, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) President Jimmy Williams logged 1,900 air miles over a 52-hour period this Labor Day weekend to urge union members to get involved and vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
Events on the whirlwind tour included a rain-soaked gathering in Allentown, PA with Governor Ed Rendell, a drier rally at Local 1746 in East Hartford, CT with IAM-endorsed Senate candidate Ned Lamont and the annual Labor Day Parade in Detroit, MI. Additional events included the Lorain County Labor Day Picnic where thousands of union members cheered Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and a pair of Labor Day events in Wisconsin featuring Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.
“It’s absolutely critical for union members to take advantage of the opportunities we’ll have on Election Day 2006,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The Bush administration and GOP conservatives will be fanning divisive smokescreen issues this year but the economic stakes for union members could not be higher.”
The IAM has targeted a dozen governors’ races around the country, including the contests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Maryland, where having a worker-friendly chief executive can make a real difference in pocketbook issues like jobs, utility rates, insurance premiums, commuter delays and educational equity.