IBEW Members Make the Difference on Election Day
November 7, 2012
From Florida to North Dakota, IBEW members and their families helped make the difference on Election Day, from reelecting Barack Obama and Joe Biden to a second term to helping pro-worker candidates win seats in Congress.
Florida was one of the tightest of the swing states. Says Tampa, Fla., Local 824 member Jason Smith about Obama’s narrow victory:
Defying the polls, Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney by more than 100,000 votes in the Sunshine State. Smith says the IBEW and unions throughout the state mobilized members to get out the vote and educate working families about the high-stakes stakes involved.
In perhaps the biggest battleground state, IBEW members were out in full force to win Ohio for Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Joe Nardella, a journeyman inside wireman and Youngstown, Ohio, Local 64 registrar, worked to turn out Eastern Ohio. Through the local AFL-CIO, Nardella and a regular contingent of members knocked on doors, put up signs, stuffed envelopes with information and phone-banked.
Nardella says that union members’ support for Obama and Brown were strong. On the Thursday before Election Day, he was walking the streets of Warren, north of Youngstown. Says Nardella:
And the polling bore this out. According to pollster Hart Research, more than 60 percent of union voters said they voted for Obama – higher than in 2008.
In Massachusetts, IBEW members played a pivotal role in one of country’s most watched Senate races – the contest between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.
Says Boston Local 2222 member Paul Feeney, a Verizon technician who also serves as the local’s legislative director:
Feeney says the IBEW went beyond sending out mailers and PAC checks.
In addition to helping consumer advocate Warren defeat Brown, union members also elected Joe Kennedy III to Congress in the state’s most tightly contested House race.
Feeney says of the congressman-elect, who is the grandson of Sen. Robert Kennedy:
To the north in New Hampshire, pro-worker candidates, from Obama down to the state legislature, also had a good night. The reason, says Manchester Local 2320 member Kelly Upham-Torosian:
In addition to winning New Hampshire for Obama, union members also helped return Carol Shea-Porter – a longtime ally of working families – to Congress.
Working people also spiked potential right-to-work legislation by electing Maggie Hassan, a strong opponent of anti-worker legislation, governor.
Upham-Torosian was on the ballot herself, running for the state legislature in one of New Hampshire’s reddest districts. While falling short in her campaign, she says more union members should follow her example and run for office themselves.