AFL-CIO prepares for final get-out-the-vote push

“With Workers’ Voice this year and Working America, our field program is bigger than ever,” Bruce said.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, they can also contact non-union workers when they campaign. The AFL-CIO and others in labor have formed super-PACs after the 2010 ruling and the labor federation has used Workers’ Voice to reach workers who don’t belong to a union.

Bruce called Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin “key firewall states” for the labor federation. She described how unions are already encouraging union members to get out the vote, whether it’s running huge bus operations from work sites to early-voting polling stations in Nevada or walking neighborhoods with allied groups like Planned Parenthood and MoveOn.org in Wisconsin. 

Senior AFL-CIO officials will also be in key battleground states starting Friday and through this weekend, canvassing and talking to voters. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is expected in Ohio's Warren-Youngstown area; Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler will be in Boston as well as New Hampshire; and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker will be in Florida.   

The labor federation has endorsed Obama for reelection. The AFL-CIO and other union allies will be vital for the president and other Democrats if they are to win on Election Day.

The AFL-CIO also released an internal poll of union and non-union members that was taken on Wednesday in Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Michael Podhorzer, the AFL-CIO’s political director, said union support for Obama has not wavered since the first presidential debate, which was considered a win for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. 

“While the race has taken quite a turn in the last week, the last week and a half, the public numbers on union support for the president and Democratic candidates have held pretty steady,” Podhorzer said. 

Further, the AFL-CIO’s internal poll found strong support for Obama when compared to Romney.  

“When we ask people whether or not they trust Obama or Romney on these key issues of trust and having a plan that’s going to help middle-class workers, we find that both voters who belong to unions and voters who are not in unions but who are in their neighborhoods, they favor Obama by about three to one,” Podhorzer said.

Other findings showed Obama connecting with voters. Fifty-four percent to 16 percent of union members believe that Obama has “a better understanding of their everyday struggles” than Romney, according to the AFL-CIO poll. 

Obama is also favored 50 percent to 20 percent among non-union members on that question.

The poll used a random sample of 454 union members and 433 non-union members who had been contacted by the AFL-CIO or Workers’ Voice for the 2012 campaign.

Podhorzer said union members are motivated for this election.

“They have seen an all out attack on them over the course of the last two years and they are ready to fight back, and this election is giving them the opportunity to do that,” Podhorzer said.