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A Message from President Hill: Let's Stay Focused On Jobs, Jobs, Jobs


November 4, 2010

IBEW President Hill


Over the next several months and even years, there will be a load of lengthy post-mortems written about what the results of Nov. 2 say about the future of our nation and our labor movement.

Analysis is important.  But, as union activists, we don’t have the luxury of simply observing politics.

Many friends of working families were voted out of office on Nov. 2 in a “wave election.” It is natural to be demoralized when we lose good and dedicated public servants.

But we don’t have any time to spare in dealing with the consequences of November—not with thousands of our own members out of work and so many working families suffering.

They, brothers and sisters, are the reason that so many of our members from Maine to California volunteered long hours to make jobs the number one issue in this election.

First, let me thank you for your hard work.  The pollsters told you that you were wasting your time—that the elections were all but decided. And corporations aided by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision outspent our union-supported candidates by a factor of ten.

But you persevered.  You visited your co-workers on the job. You made phone calls and you sent out mailings. And, in more than a few cases, you and your brothers and sisters in the labor movement made a difference—keeping friends in office and adversaries from turning back the clock on progress.

Polling results show that in Nevada and California, Washington State and others, labor’s grassroots efforts overcame huge bankrolls of the anti-union crowd.  Because of your efforts, right-wing extremist candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada will not be putting their fingerprints on legislation in our nation’s capital.

I agree with the Democrats and Republicans who say that this election never was about political parties alone.  It was about the direction of our nation.  And that is why it is so very important that our adversaries cannot claim a clean electoral sweep.

Even where we lost allies like Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in tight races, we drew lines that will be so necessary to hold onto if we are to succeed in building a brighter future for working families.

We drew the distinction between public servants who dedicate their lives and public policy to bettering the lot of working families and those who erroneously and selfishly cling to failed economic models that contend that wealth “trickles down” from the top. 

For sure, many working class voters showed that they are still confused about friends and adversaries and policies. But we will never give up reaching out to them and talking common sense solutions or looking to improve our message and methods and learn from our mistakes.

Sports analogies can get old in politics.  But when a good football team loses on Sunday, they don’t blame their opponents. They get together and discuss what they could have done better.  Then they focus on the following week’s game, adopting the attitude of winners.

We simply cannot afford to lose the battle to put America back to work.  And with your perseverance and hard work, we won’t.

Thanks again for all that you do.