Obama Urges Union Members To Keep Up Campaign Efforts

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In an Oct. 26 conference call with thousands of union leaders and activists, President Obama praised the efforts of the labor movement and called union members the "backbone" of a final push to elect worker-friendly candidates on Nov. 2.

Obama urged the union activists to keep up the pace as midterm election campaigns enter the final stretch. "Sign up Friday to show up Sunday on the phone bank," he said. "Pick up a packet on Saturday morning to walk the precincts. Volunteer to drive people to the polls on Tuesday. … Let's do everything we can in these last seven days."

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who hosted the call, said union volunteers, from rank-and-file members to union presidents, "will make the difference when everything is counted up" on Election Day.

"Let's remember what these elections are about," Trumka said. "It's not about political parties. This isn't about glory for Democrats or spite against Republicans. We're in this for our future. This is about creating jobs, about rebuilding our middle class, about building a strong future for our children."

The AFT and its activists have played a central role in the Labor 2010 effort. The union is involved in 37 states this year—the most ever—in 500 different races and with 400 staff either hired for the campaign season or on full-time release from their regular jobs. (See photos from some AFT field activities on Facebook.) In addition, the AFT's top officers have been out campaigning in key races. AFT president Randi Weingarten will be making campaign stops in three states in the final days. [AFL-CIO Now, Dan Gursky/video by Matthew Jones]

October 28, 2010

AFT secretary-treasurer Antonia Cortese, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin and Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English knock on doors in Baltimore.   AFT president Randi Weingarten and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka rally with union supporters in Philadelphia as part of a final get-out-the-vote effort.