The Electrical Worker online
October 2012

Two Visions for America
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President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both say that it's time to restore the American Dream — the reputation of our nation as a place where those who want to work find jobs and contribute to society, a land where the sons and daughters of workers can honor the opportunity to rise to lead our finest institutions and our nation itself.

We don't question the sincerity of either man's commitment to our highest values.

But elections are about choices. And, as progressive and practical trade unionists, we need to decide which candidate's policies have and will put our economy and working families in the best position to weather the storms of a changing and uncertain world for the next four years.

Democrats have criticized Romney for failing to propose any comprehensive plan to speed America's economic recovery.

But there is one exception to this critique. And — as IBEW members decide how to vote in November — that exception makes all the difference for everyone in our nation who works hard and plays by the rules.

Mitt Romney, as this issue of the Electrical Worker amply reveals, has been absolutely clear and unambiguous about his opposition to unions in America.

Romney has pledged to continue the war on union members that has been waged by his Republican cronies from Wisconsin to Indiana, from Maine to Michigan. He supported Gov. John Kasich in his move to block collective bargaining in Ohio, a bill that was overturned by a campaign and referendum led by organized labor.

If we value our right to a voice on the job, our right to negotiate with our employers for decent wages and benefits and, most of all, a society that grows from the middle of the income scale outward instead of from the top down, IBEW members would be making a grave mistake to place the leadership of our nation in the hands of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

The Obama administration has four years of accomplishment that are a window into the values of our president and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden. We believe that Barack Obama and Joe Biden represent the mainstream values of fair play and economic justice that gave rise to America's middle class.

Their record and their campaign deserve the support of all IBEW members, not just in words, but in action to help bring more members, neighbors and friends out to exercise their right to vote.

From taking decisive steps to ward off a second Great Depression to saving the U.S. auto industry — a controversial decision opposed by Romney and others — to protecting the jobs of public workers and passing legislation on pay equity for women, President Obama has shown courage and compassion for working families. President Obama and Joe Biden have stated time and again that these are just beginning steps to economic recovery. Despite progress, both men acknowledge the ongoing pain and challenge of joblessness and diminished opportunity and are committed to seeking innovative solutions.

In stopping medical insurance companies from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing medical conditions to appointing Supreme Court justices who reject the anti-worker extremism of their right-wing peers, President Obama has faced down some of the heaviest and most personal attacks of any U.S. president with grace and patience.

Even where the IBEW and other unions have disagreed with President Obama — as we have on his endorsement of free trade agreements — we have never questioned his overarching commitment to making lives better for men and women at the bottom and middle of our economic spectrum.

There couldn't be a sharper contrast between the Obama-Biden record on supporting middle-class prosperity and the Romney-Ryan endorsement of "trickle-down" economics, a failed policy that professes to help working Americans by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest families in our nation, slashing our nation's social safety net and letting the most powerful corporations set our nation's political agenda. Since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, those same corporations have been freed to spend unlimited amounts of cash with the intent of overpowering the voices of organized labor and others who are fighting to preserve our democracy.

We don't tell our members how to vote. We ask only that our votes be based upon weighing all the facts and the records of those who profess to stand by our side.

We encourage members to read and respond to the articles in this issue of the Electrical Worker by mail or online at or on the IBEW's Facebook page.


Read more: Obama and Romney: Stark Contrast on Workers' Issues Obama vs. Romney

Read more: Paul Ryan in Washington: From Moderate to Hard Right Paul Ryan

Read more: Romney: Union Busting Would Begin on Day One Mitt Romney

Read more: Obama's Record Strong on Support for Veterans Obama's Support for Veterans


Values — those ideals that our leaders and potential leaders consider most important — are articulated and given significance by the policies that they promote or enact. The election of 2012 is about choosing the best policies for an economic recovery in America.


Six Steps to Protect Your Vote
Make sure your vote counts!

Here are SIX SIMPLE STEPS you can take on Election Day, Nov. 6, to protect your voting rights.

1. Make sure you know the location of your polling place and your correct precinct. Many have changed, and a vote at the wrong place may not be counted.

2. Bring identification to the polls, preferably a government-issued photo ID with your registered address. Check your state's Web site now to ensure you have the proper ID. Several states (Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee) have passed strict photo ID laws and require a government-issued photo ID.

3. Ask for help from poll workers and check posted signs if you have questions or need assistance.

4. Make sure you cast a vote. If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote and should stay in line.

5. If you are offered a provisional ballot, ask if you can cast a regular ballot by providing additional ID or by going to another polling place. If no alternative is available or practical, cast a provisional ballot and follow up after Election Day. You can call the Election Protection Hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) before you leave the polling place.

6. If you have a voting rights problem, talk to the chief election official or a voting rights volunteer at the polls, or call the toll-free nationwide Election Protection Hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, a project of a coalition of groups including the AFL-CIO, promoting voting rights.

Source: Election Protection coalition: