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October 26, 2003

Unions and Mobilization 2004

It's hard to emphasize the qualitative jump in mobilization by unions planned for the election this election cycle.

But this story on the plans of Service Employees International Union 1999 -- the New York state health care union -- gives you some idea.

With New York a likely Dem win, what are New York state unionists going to do?

Ship 1000 activists out of state to the swing states:

As part of the anti-Bush campaign, union President Dennis Rivera has recruited 1,000 rank-and-file members and staff to fan out across the country beginning next month to get an early start organizing get-out-the-vote operations in more than a dozen "battleground" states.

Those states, including Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio, are considered key for Democrats to regain the White House.

Each of Rivera's 1,000 volunteers will take a one-year leave of absence from his or her regular job - something permitted by many 1199 labor contracts - with the union paying regular salary and travel costs.

That's a full year before the election.

Most of the time, unions have only gotten active in their own core states a few months before the election-- so getting activists in place in other states so early is a quantum jump in mobilization.

And the union is focusing on raising the funds to make this work-- reportedly aiming to raise $35 to $40 million from state union members.

Posted by Nathan at October 26, 2003 09:27 AM