Since June of this year, some of our member leaders have taken time off work to dedicate their time to the elections as Member Political Organizers. Verna Pearson, a nurse from Tampa and 1199 member, is one of them. Some of you may have seen her at your shop, reminding her union brothers and sisters to get out and vote.
“We are asking them to go out to vote, and making sure they are registered to vote. We are educating them and mobilizing them, not only to vote for President, but also in the local elections,” says Verna.
Since she started going to Tallahassee to lobby state elected officials, Verna has been very active in the political campaigns at our Union. She can proudly say that some of the votes that elected President Obama where thanks to her relentless work at the doors encouraging her co-workers and her community to go out and vote.
Many members get inspired and motivated when they talk to her as a union worker just like them. Some are also surprised because they don’t know the union does political work, so Verna takes this as an opportunity to explain that “we are not only there to fight our contracts, but also to fight for bigger things and build better communities.”
For Verna, the elections are personal. She participates thinking about her two little granddaughters who need a fair shot in their education, and whose teachers need to get paid better to do a good job.
“Someone will be affected somehow by the decisions that politicians make. If it’s not you, it can be someone in your family who will be affected by at least one of the issues we fight for. We need someone to fight for us. That’s why I work to mobilize members. Change doesn’t come just by standing back, you have to go and get it’” she adds. “Power comes in unity; unity comes in the power of our vote."