Friday, 1 February 2008

Unions ‘strongest force’ in American elections

Last Wednesday, 75 local union leaders were trained in Colorado. They learned how to discuss labour issues with co-workers and how to talk with journalists. Key activists have also been trained in activist recruitment, worksite mapping and building a distribution network to disseminate education materials.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stated that unions are now the ‘single-strongest force in elections’ outside of the candidates and parties themselves. It says unions still spend half as much on political campaigns as corporations, but ‘the gap is closing fast’. Perhaps more importantly, unions run smarter campaigns than businesses, focussing their efforts on getting out the vote.
According to the WSJ, the surprise win of Hillary Clinton (photo) in the New Hampshire primary had much to do with the support she got from three of the state’s largest unions, a factor many overlooked.
Last year, the Australian Council of Trade Unions was generally credited with helping the Labour Party win the election, running a campaign inspired by the political campaigns run by American unions.

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