AFL-CIO Wisconsin Campaign Director Justin Miller on their work to get out the vote for the midterm elections.
Reporter: Can you tell our listeners what the AFL-CIO is doing right now in terms of the midterm elections?
Justin Miller: We are running our full program. We are a labor-to-labor program, talking to the labor members and household members around the state: getting the word out about our endorsed candidates, why we endorse them–their pro-worker, pro-union policies. We’re doing it using our typical pillars; we have a robust phone program; a large door-knocking program; we have SMS texting going; we did a full handwritten postcard program; we have Local Union Mail and digital social media outreach. We are using every channel we can to get word out to our members and make sure they turn out and help us elect pro worker candidates here in Wisconsin.
Reporter: What are you seeing so far?
Justin Miller: We have seen a surge in registration, and some surges in registration amongst women as well that give us some positive hope. We have a governor who just bought management and labor to the governor’s residence to hammer out a labor agreement–that’s something that we haven’t even seen Democratic Governors do in decades–So, we’re confident we have the right candidates and the right message to our members and we’re confident they’re going to turn out.
Reporter: How are you reaching the whole state?
Justin Miller: With a robust door program, again. That’s our best way of talking to people but, you know, we’re limited in some of the areas that we can get to on doors. So, we have a phone program that gets into every part of the state. We have a full list of targeted down-ballot races in the assembly and the Senate and in Congress as well that we are really focusing on. We have text messages, which has become a new tool in the last few years, and that’s another thing that we can use to reach people in places where we know we’re not getting to them in the doors. And then we do a handwritten postcard program that gets to those members in places where we may have difficulties in reaching them otherwise.
Reporter: What are the issues that the union is focusing on in the midterms?
Justin Miller: There’s a host of them and I think the differences between the candidates we’ve endorsed and their opponents really highlight a lot of these. Governor Evers has been an incredible friend of Labor. We saw him work with the UW Hospital nurses; we’ve seen him build 1500 Bridges and 5000 miles of roads. He stepped up in that way that Scott Walker said he would build the roads and never did. That’s a lot of good union jobs. The I-94 corridor is another very important thing. We know that our opponent, despite working with unions in his professional life, does so only begrudgingly. And he does not support prevailing wage, he supports right-to-work and Act 10. Similarly, in the senate race we’ve got two incredibly different points of view. You’ve got somebody who was raised by two union members and understands the issues on the tables of union households and you’ve got someone who married into a billionaire family and thinks that Wisconsin has enough jobs already, as he said with the Oshkosh defense contract issues, and who wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare. I think that the differences can’t be more stark between the program policies of our endorsed candidates here and their opponents.
Reporter: How can listeners find out the labor stances on the candidates?
Justin Miller: I would recommend that anybody can visit aflcio.org. We have a lot of information up on there and sitting at list of all of the endorsed candidates and member candidates positions on many of them. I’d say the the best way is to come join us and help us tell our members this important information.
Reporter: How can we join you?
Justin Miller: I think the easiest way is just to go to our website aflcio.org. There’s a link right at the top for mobilize that’ll take you out to our mobilize form you can check off the boxes of whatever you’re interested in. We’ll get in touch with you usually just within a few hours and get you plugged in. We have things going on all over the state. The other way to get plugged in with the right here in the Madison area where at the Madison Labor Temple room 226. We’re here from 10 to 8 Monday through Friday 10 to 7 on Saturday, and on the last 4 we will be here 10 to 8 every day Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday right up to the election.
Reporter: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Justin Miller: We know that Labor needs to turn out in order for us to win this election.
Report by Jeannine Ramsey. Photo courtesy Element5 Digital on Unsplash. Web production by Anyu Li.