AFL-CIO: Freedom is on the ballot this November!

WASHINGTON —Declaring “Freedom is on the ballot this November,” the AFL-CIO is stepping up its intense battle to campaign for the rights of workers, women, people of color, LFBTQ people and everyone else in this country who, it says, are being deprived of their rights by a Republican Party captured by the extreme right.

As part of this campaign the federation launched a special election-oriented website on August 18 at

The battle by labor will involve detailed plans to mobilize voters in all the categories mentioned. The plan is to not only lobby for their votes to oust Republicans but, in addition, to employ labor’s known ability to get people to the polls in November.

The federation’s campaign was the second one labor launched within a week. The other, by the Service Employees, aims to mobilize and marshal voters, too. But its focus is on protecting the rights—and lives—of immigrant workers threatened by right-wing repression and roundups.

The federation’s campaign is straightforward. When it talks about freedom being on the ballot, it includes “freedom to vote, freedom to join a union, freedom to access lifesaving health care, freedom to earn a living wage, and so much more.”

All those freedoms would be endangered if workers’ foes win this fall, the federation says. The website has tabs to the AFL-CIO survey asking what issues are important to responders, and also provides state-by-state voter registration information.

“The only way for us to protect our freedoms is to vote,” it declares. And vote for lawmakers who will protect workers’ rights and freedoms, not their foes, it adds.

“Electing pro-worker legislators in the Senate and House will be critical to protecting our freedom to vote, to make decisions over our own bodies both inside and outside of the workplace, and so much more. The labor movement is devoting resources to strategic local and national elections across the nation while also capitalizing on the energy of workers and our recent wins at places like Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft,” it says.

SEIU’s “We Decide” election campaign site specifically emphasizes immigrants and their rights, and draws a contrast between the two parties. The union will “hold the Republicans accountable for the harm they’ve done to immigrant families.”

SEIU and its allies–Mi Familia Vota, CASA in Action, The Florida Immigrant Coalition, SEIU-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), and SEIU Nevada Local 1107—will concentrate on races in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Nevada.

“For working people like myself, elections are personal,” janitor Patricia Cuevas, an executive board member of SEIU-USWW, told the union. The union’s campaign “will work to expand the electorate” through enhanced registration between now and November, she said.

It will also “drive turnout among infrequent voters to elect leaders who will stand up for working families and take action to lower food prices and gas, make healthcare and housing more affordable, and fight with us for higher wages and the opportunity to join together in unions to bargain for better jobs.”


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.