The Electrical Worker online
August 2014

From the Officers
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What Money Can't Buy

The power of a union can be measured in different ways, but one of the most important is how many of our members show up at the polls. It is a sign of our strength that more than 80 percent of our membership is registered to vote, and the vast majority of you show up year after year.

The money we raise is important, and I am proud of how many candidates we've been able to support over the years. But for every dollar we raised in 2012, business gave 15, an astonishing $2.1 billion. There is little reason to think that the concentration of wealth will slow down soon.

Getting outspent 15:1 makes a difference, but there is a different statistic that I believe is more important: 23 percent to zero. Union members make up 23 percent of the electorate and despite the Supreme Court giving corporations rights that used to be reserved for citizens, there isn't a corporation in the world that can walk into a voting booth.

Off-year elections always see a significant drop-off in turnout. It is an unfortunate reality that without the excitement of a presidential election, many supporters of working families simply don't make it to the polls.

If the opponents of decent wages, collective bargaining, fair trade and secure retirements are going to be stopped from taking over the Senate this year, it is up to organized labor to fill polling places across this nation.

Please, if you aren't already, register to vote. It is your duty as citizens and as brothers and sisters. And with so much in the balance, we must make sure our families and friends know which candidates are really looking out for working families.

No matter how much money someone has, every citizen gets a single vote. Don't wait. Register now and guarantee the voice of labor is heard in November.


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Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer