The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) recently announced it is investing $150 million, mostly in eight battleground states aimed at increasing voter turnout in minority communities.
In an interview which sounded more like a high school pep rally speech, Union President Mary Kay Henry said President Donald J. Trump has been systematically attacking union workers and that their rights have been “eviscerated” under his administration. She also said the President is rigging the rules against union workers.
In the coming months the union will target 6 million voters, primarily minorities, who live in Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota with direct contact, online advertising and some television ads. The union is planning to focus its attention on the critical urban areas of Detroit and Milwaukee in an attempt to get blacks and Hispanics to go to the polls.
The SEIU maintains a membership of close to two million and represents state and local workers, health care workers, and those in food service industries. Half of their members earn less than $15 dollars per hour.
Saying that they want to focus on the issues of health care and wages Maria Peralta, Political Director of the Union, pointed to the fact that the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. They are also concerned with Administration efforts to drastically weaken labor union power in the country. The Supreme Court recently ruled that it is unconstitutional to require union members to pay union dues.
Tellingly, when asked which presidential candidate the union will endorse, Ms. Henry wouldn’t answer.
At the moment Bernie Sanders is the man to beat as the Democratic Party’s candidate for President.
With Sanders’ stance of raising taxes on everyone making more than $29,000 annually, many of the SEIU’s membership will be negatively affected. The “wait and see” strategy on endorsement can only last so long so it will be interesting to see if Henry’s and Peralta’s $150 million spending spree will actually produce smaller paychecks for their membership.
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