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September 2016

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This Year, Down Ballot Races Are Key

The presidential election is dominating news coverage and will continue to do so. That's what happens every four years.

But brothers and sisters, the races further down the ballot just might be more important. They'll determine the future of this union.

Think that's an overstatement? Well, consider this. Gubernatorial elections in Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire will decide if they become right-to-work states.

The Republican nominee in Missouri supports right-to-work and will have overwhelming GOP majorities in the statehouse. That's why IBEW members are working hard to elect Democratic nominee Chris Koster, who has a record of supporting working families.

In Montana, the National Right to Work Committee and other far-right groups have been pouring money into the GOP-controlled state legislature. But Gov. Steve Bullock has held firm. He continually says no to right-to-work. He's up for re-election and IBEW members have his back.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is a friend to working families and she's running for a Senate seat. IBEW members are working hard on her behalf there, too. But many state legislators clamor for a right-to-work law. We must ensure her replacement is someone with the strength to fight back.

We know wages fall when right-to-work legislation is signed. Other measures to punish unions, such as repealing prevailing wage laws, soon follow.

We also face critical governor's races in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia. We must elect state legislators who support our cause. The right-to-work movement gained steam because conservative legislatures around the country increasingly take orders from the notoriously anti-union American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. That has to stop.

The fight isn't just in state capitals. There are 33 Senate seats up for grabs. The Supreme Court has chipped away at workers' rights for most of the last 40 years. It is critical we elect a Senate that will confirm justices who recognize that unions have a seat at the table.

Laws to protect our rights on the job mean little without a strong National Labor Relations Board. We must elect senators who will confirm NLRB members concerned with working families. We've got real chances to do that in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This is not a debate about parties or personalities. In Missouri and other states, our members are working to re-elect GOP legislators who have voted against right-to-work and the repeal of prevailing wage legislation. We'll support politicians from across the spectrum who show a commitment to good jobs.

This election isn't just about individual candidates. It's a referendum on your job, your union and the overall health of the middle class.

And when union members vote, all working families win. We can't afford to sit this one out.


Also: Stephenson: At the IBEW's 39th Convention,
Shaping Our Destiny Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer