Some union members are hesitant to vote Barack Obama. They may not acknowledge explicitly that race is the issue: “The main reason you get is, ‘I don’t trust him because I don’t know him’,” local UAW leader Anthony Rainey told the New York Times.
Karen Ackerman, political director of the AFL-CIO confederation, said: “We’re very conscious of the fact that many voters have never voted for an African-American for any office. For some voters, including union voters, particularly older voters, there is a reluctance”.
However, for many voters economic issues are now decisive. “Abortion is an important subject, but with this election, I feel that abortion is not as big because of what happens with the war and the economy”, said Mike Roselle, a FedEx driver who supports Obama.
In the past, unions have demonstrated they have a substantial impact on the election outcome, especially as a result of their effectiveness at boosting voter turnout among low income and minority groups in swing states.
This year, the AFL-CIO plans to visit 10 million homes; make 70 million telephone calls; distribute 20 million leaflets and 25 million pieces of mail; and sending out more than four million e-mail messages.
Source: Steven Greenhouse / New York Times