As the campaigns to re-elect President Barack Obama and a worker-friendly Congress move into high gear, 1199SEIU has launched a drive to increase member contributions to its Martin Luther King Jr. Political Action Fund.
In one of the most important political campaigns in many years – the fight to re-elect Pres. Obama – 1199SEIU is leaving nothing to chance. Although unions can’t begin to match the billions of dollars that powerful corporations will plow into the various campaigns, the Fund’s dollars can go a long way towards mobilizing an army of union volunteers to help elect worker-friendly candidates and support progressive legislation.
“Our Political Action Fund is the single most powerful tool at the Union’s disposal,” says 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “It allows us to elect healthcare allies, negotiate strong contracts with fair wages and fight for continued healthcare funding.”
In July, 1199ers boarded buses for weekend trips to swing states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, to register new voters and to inform voters about the high stakes in the coming elections.
The law prohibits unions from using dues money to fund political campaigns. Therefore, unions establish their own political action committess (PACs) to raise necessary funds specifically earmarked for elections.
The new PAC drive provides incentives for members to sign up their co-workers. Prizes include:
• Those who turn in 20 sign-up cards will receive a “Political Power Builder” windbreaker.
• For 50 cards, members will also receive a carry-on travel bag.
• The top collector in each region with at least 50 cards will attend the Obama presidential inauguration on January 20, 2013.
• And, the member with the most valid cards will receive either an iPad or a 32-inch flat screen TV (member’s choice).
1199SEIU’s Political Action Department also has stepped up efforts to register as many members as possible before the registration deadlines.