Union gets out the vote, reminds Americans what’s at stake

Stephon Johnson | 9/3/2020, midnight
Officials at the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) are sparing no expense to get out the vote for the 2020 ...
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Officials at the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) are sparing no expense to get out the vote for the 2020 presidential election.

32BJ SEIU, a union made up of more than 175,000 cleaners, security officers, food service workers, doormen and airport workers, hopes to galvanize essential workers to register 8,000 member voters in the battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia before the registration deadlines. The $150 million campaign will continue until national voter registration day on Sept. 22. Union officials said it’s the biggest ever voter-engagement program in history.

The union wants to turn out Black and Latino voters through using old and new (digital) organization tactics and a media campaign in multiple languages

“While corporations are rescued by bailout after bailout, essential workers are redoubling their efforts to ensure they won’t be left behind in November,” stated 32BJ President Kyle Bragg. “This voting block of essential workers is driven by reasonable and urgent demands for essential pay and PPE because it means the difference between life and death, and financial stability and poverty.”

“I have seen too many people get sick and die unnecessarily because of this White House, and it’s only getting harder to pay the bills,” stated 32BJ member Hipolito Andon. “My coworkers and I will vote because our lives depend on it.”

While 32BJ SEIU wants as many voters as possible to register, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) wants the public to know how President Donald Trump’s administration has led public education down a path to doom. However, one conservative media outlet blocked their ads from airing on their station.

The AFT had an ad ready to air on Fox News during its broadcasts of the Republican National Convention. Fox News decided to reject the ad without an explanation. The 30-second ad spot, titled “Enough is Enough,” blasts Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not having a proper plan for children and teachers returning to school (or remote learning) and putting everyone in danger in the process. “This ad is important because it cuts to the core of the agony communities are facing as they try to reopen without a plan or resources,” stated AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We agree with Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos that in-person learning is best for kids, but it has to be safe, and that means working with Congress to get the testing, tracing, school nurses and PPE we need—not hitting the golf course, pressing the pause button, or bullying and threatening teachers.”

Last month, Fox News aired an AFT ad in Washington, D.C. that called out McConnell for not passing the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The current ad will still air on CNN during the convention.

“What is Fox afraid of? We need resources and supports to keep our students safe as we reopen,” said Weingarten. “People should know who is and isn’t helping.”

The HEROES Act narrowly passed in the House of Representatives back in May and the Senate’s been fighting over stimulus checks and addendums to the bill.