With less than thirty days remaining until the polls close on November 3rd, the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s Labor 2020 political program is running at full speed in what has shaped up to be one of the most consequential elections in American history.
“We must deliver a decisive win in November because everything is on the line,” Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy told virtual phonebank participants last week. “Our healthcare, our safety on the job, our freedom to join together to negotiate a fair return on our work and, most importantly, the very fabric of our democracy.”
The COVID-19 pandemic meant a major shift away from contacting union members at their front doors and towards phone calls. Every day and evening, union volunteers are busy making phone calls from their homes and union halls (wearing masks and practicing social distancing). Since late-August, members of 25 different unions have made more than 100,000 phone calls to their fellow members in support of Labor-endorsed candidates and to provide information on how to vote early from home or in person.
Union voter contact doesn’t stop at phone calls. Unlike any other kind of organization, unions can speak to members at the worksite during breaks or outside working hours. Over the last year, the Minnesota AFL-CIO has been identifying and collaborating with local union coordinators and providing regular trainings to equip them with the tools they need to make sure members have the information they need to make an informed choice this election.
Digital outreach was always going to be a significant part of the Labor 2020 program, but COVID-19 has made it even more vital to use remote tactics to reach union members. This year, the Minnesota AFL-CIO made its largest digital ad buy in state federation history. The ads feature members from a cross-section of Minnesota unions speaking about their union values and why voting for this year’s Labor-endorsed candidates led by Vice President Joe Biden is an expression of those values. These ads are running on a variety of platforms including social networks like Facebook and streaming video services. In addition to paid ads, union activists have been engaging with their fellow members on social media through a variety of pages and groups.
The clock is ticking, and the Minnesota AFL-CIO will only be increasing our efforts until the polls close on Election Day. If you are interested in volunteering for Labor 2020 visit www.mnaflcio.org/volunteer and be sure to sign up for e-mail and text updates and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.