Bobby Kasper: Working people can be the difference Nov. 6

St. Paul Regional Labor Federation President Bobby Kasper urges labor volunteers to hit the doors. He’s joined on stage by UFCW Local 1189 officers Jennifer Christensen and Jim Gleb.

The outcome of the Nov. 6 election has the potential to determine our future as union members for at least the next four years.

In Minnesota, we know what’s at stake. We’ve seen the attacks on working people in states around us, and we know those attacks on our freedoms – fended off by Gov. Mark Dayton over the last eight years – will become our reality if Republicans take total control of our state government. Right to work, corporate preemption of our local labor standards, repeal of prevailing wage, attacks on our wages and benefits – they all will find a much more receptive audience with Jeff Johnson in the governor’s office.

Tim Walz is a candidate who will stand for labor and workers’ rights. We live in a time when some people are promoting hate and divisiveness, but that’s not what this election is about. It’s about basic issues – bread-and-butter issues – like our paychecks, our benefits and our freedom to join together and fight for fairness in the workplace.

Tim Walz and our other endorsed candidates – like U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and Angie Craig, running for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District, which includes Dakota County – have earned our support by proudly standing with unions, advancing our agenda and speaking up for our members.

We’ve seen what government looks like when politicians ignore the voices of working people and, instead, listen to the whispers of a few CEOs. We get a $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations and the rich. We get proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security to pay for their tax scam. We get elected officials who play politics with our health care just to curry favor with some corporate donors. And we get judges who go out of their way to attack our bargaining power at a time of unprecedented income inequality.

We’re tired of it. That’s why we’re changing things by doing what we do best – standing and fighting together.

We’re knocking on doors, making calls and talking at worksites. We’re mobilizing, street-by-street and person-by-person, showing our power and our passion for our issues – the things that affect us every day at our jobs and in our lives. The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation is proud to be the driving force behind what has the makings of the largest and most effective member-to-member political program our state has seen in decades. As a proud member of LIUNA Laborers Local 563, I know these conversations are going to make the difference Nov. 6.

There are three things you can do to help our cause between now and Election Day. First, register and vote. Second, talk to your co-workers about how important it is to vote for candidates who will support our livelihoods. Finally, join our effort to turn out union voters as a volunteer.

– Bobby Kasper is president of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, representing over 100 affiliate unions with more than 50,000 members who live or work in Ramsey, Washington, Dakota and Chisago counties.

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