AFL-CIO’s “Workers’ Voice” Super PAC Will Focus on Grassroots Organizing Instead of TV Ads

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Today, the AFL-CIO announced that their new Super PAC “Workers’ Voice” will work as a permanent campaign tool that is “radically different” than other Super PACs in order to try to respond to the big money Super PACs that will be spending tens of millions in each battleground state.  Created last year, Workers’ Voice has raised more than $3.7 million, according to FEC records.

The goal is to combat the “mega millionaires like Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney, the Koch Brothers and large corporations [that] plan to try and buy the 2012 elections.”  Unlike traditional Super PACs, however, Workers Voice will largely eschew television ads and focus specifically on organizing.

Workers’ Voice will plans to use email and social media as organizing tools, but also it will unveil a new digital organizing tool, “Amicus,” that combines online campaigning with labor’s traditional strength in ground-game canvassing and phone banking.

Because of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, organized labor is allowed to talk to everybody, not just other union members.  With the launch of Workers’ Voice and SuperPACs like it, labor is going to be running a real campaign for the first time.

This is an advantage that labor union PACs will have over mega-millionaire PACs because the unions already have the staff and volunteers to draw from whereas the wealthier Super PACs only have the power of paperbacks instead of the power of people.

Traditionally, labor has done a good job turning out their people in elections, but now they will have campaign tools created specifically for the labor movement that allows labor to have their own volunteer force instead of sending their members to different campaign headquarters.

“Workers’ Voice will activate and energize networks of working families to have their voices heard by coming together to organize their friends, family, co-workers and neighbors, powered by cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned energy,” said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale in a statement.

Pennsylvania is sure to be one of the focus states for Workers’ Voice given that each path to victory listed by the Obama campaign involves winning Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania AFL-CIO sources have said that the new Super PAC will be a “major player” in Pennsylvania, which is one of the AFL-CIO’s “main targeted states for 2012.”

With Rick Santorum out of the GOP Presidential nomination race, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO can now turn its focus on Mitt Romney.

“Mitt Romney may feel that he has the room to swing back to the center now that Rick Santorum is dropping out,” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale. “But working Pennsylvanians won’t forget the statements Mitt Romney has already made.”

Some of the statements Bloomingdale is alluding to include:

·“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are.” (8/11 Washington Post)

·”I like being able to fire people.” (1/12 CBS News)

·”I’m not concerned about the very poor.” (2/12 ABC News)

A goal of Workers’ Voice will be to use grassroots methods to make sure that Pennsylvanians do not forget the statements that Romney has made in the nomination race so far, especially as millionaire Super PACs begin to pound the airwaves.

“Mitt Romney’s willingness to say anything to get elected will hurt him with in the general election,” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder. “Let’s see how quickly he walks back his support for Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, cut taxes for the wealthy and reward corporations for shipping jobs overseas.”

 

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger was a contributing writer at Keystone Politics from 2011 to 2014.
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