We all know this election is going to come down to turn-out–getting the base to show up at the polls. President Obama has a big advantage here because the union bosses are managing Democratic Party canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. The unions are President Obama’s boots-on-the-ground in these final weeks.
AFL-CIO big boss Richard Trumka has been campaigning in swing states to get union members energized for Obama. He has pledged to put 400,000 union members to work for Team Obama. Already, AFL-CIO says it has registered more than 450,000 new voters from union households over the past 18 months. And they have registered 68,000 new voters in the key swing state of Ohio. Given the tightening polls, these efforts in the Buckeye State alone could bring President Obama to victory.
Publically, Obama has been distancing himself from the unions. Scott Walker’s recall election showed Team Obama that public sector unions do not poll well with likely voters. So President Obama has trying to show his independence from the unions and the unions have been expressing their disappointment with President Obama. But President Obama is still the first union-label president, and the unions’ agenda remains his agenda. The unions know their future growth and survival as a relevant movement depends on his re-election.
So, in these final weeks, the unions are going full out for President Obama. The unions will spend over $500 million on this campaign. And if President Obama wins, this will prove to be money well invested. The unions will get greater access to the White House, new executive orders opening up new groups of workers for them to unionize, more favorable decisions from the National Labor Relations Board, and the opportunity to unionize millions more health care workers under Obamacare. If Governor Romney wins, the unions will be out in the cold for four long years, or longer. So, the unions are betting big on this race, and if Obama wins, he will owe the unions who will have made the difference