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October 2012

IBEW Mobilizes for Races
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Pa. Activists Tell Working Families: 'The Choice is Clear'

On Aug. 11 nearly 40,000 people gathered in Philadelphia to stand up for the embattled middle class and America's Second Bill of Rights, which would entitle every American to decent work, education, medical care and retirement security.

Speaking before the crowd, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said:

"I'm here to renew my commitment as a U.S. senator to not only the Second Bill of Rights, but to renew my commitment to your future … the working men and women of Pennsylvania. This country will only be as strong as you are strong."

Energized by Aug. 11, IBEW members are now taking the fight to every precinct in the state, making phone calls and knocking on doors to help re-elect Casey, who has one of the strongest pro-worker voting records in Congress.

Activists are also gearing up to re-elect President Obama in one of the biggest battleground states in the country.

"Mitt Romney had made clear he is coming after our rights and benefits if he is elected," says Third District International Representative Mike Welsh. "For working Pennsylvanians, there is a clear distinction between the two candidates — on retirement security, workers' rights and on jobs."

And while there are still some Republican officials in the state who stand with working families on key legislative issues, including prevailing wage and project labor agreements, Romney and GOP Senate candidate Tom Smith are on record as opposing everything from boosting the minimum wage to federal PLAs.

Welsh is heading up the union's grassroots political program, which is registering voters and getting information to members from Pittsburgh to York. "It's about going one-on-one with the members because they are our greatest resource," he says.

Union members are also working to elect pro-worker representatives to the House of Representatives and the state legislature. One of them is Rep. Mark Critz, who represents the former steel center of Johnstown in the western part of the state. Union members mobilized behind Critz in the Democratic primary earlier this year because of his strong stance on trade and workers' rights and are now working to re-elect him in November. He is facing Keith Rothfus, who is backed by big money anti-worker special interest groups.