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AFL-CIO and CtW labor federations working together


August 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

AFL-CIO and CtW labor federations working together


REGION, July 30th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC political program is intended to get out the union member vote on November 4th and elect Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Mr. Obama is the Democratic party presidential nominee-in-waiting. The AFL-CIO endorsed Senator Obama for President over Republican party presidential nominee-in-waiting Arizona Senator John McCain. The labor organization did not endorse any presidential candidate during the primary election season.

The Change-to-Win (CtW) labor federation endosed Mr. Obama for the primary election and their affitiated unions will participate with the AFL-CIO political program called, “Labor 2008.”

The Pennsylvania presidential election contest was decided by a few percentage points in 2000 and 2004 with the Democratic party nominee winning in both elections. Many political observers predict this years election will also be decided by a few percentage points.

According to Rod Muchnok, AFL-CIO Field Representative who is the co-ordinator for the political program in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Labor 2008 is mobilizing union members across the state through worksite leafleting, door-to-door labor walks, (contacting union members at their homes), and contacting union members by phone at their residents.

Mr. Muchnok told the newspaper Barack Obama supports the working class and if elected President, will fight for raising the minimum wage, improving the prevailing wage, and will sign into law card check for union elections legislation.

Mr. Muchnok, a former coal miner and member of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), said the program is intended to better educate union members about issues pertaining to their working lives and then understand why voting for Mr. Obama is in their best interest.

The AFL-CIO political program will be conducted at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore Borough in Lackawanna County and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 building in Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County.

According to Sam Bianco, President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, this years election may be the most important for the labor community in the more than 30 years he has been the President of the labor organization. “This guy in the White House has damaged this country so bad it will take years to fix his mess,” said Mr. Bianco.

Mr. Muchnok said Senator McCain will oppose the union supported Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) if elected in November.

Under the legislation, employers would be required to recognize unions that receive majority support by employees through a card-check system. EFCA would replace government overseen elections in the workplace which are held following a sometimes lengthy campaign.

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