Thursday, January 12, 2006

Union Endorses the Non-Union Candidate

So the AFL-CIO endorsed Duckworth. And this is surprising how? The biggest Democratic machine backing union backed the Chicago machine candidate. I'm shocked. I'm surprised. I'm stunned. I'm not.

What does surprise me is that the AFL-CIO is endorsing the only candidate who hasn't been a member of a union, let alone been an active proponent of labor politically, but instead backed a candidate who has no clearly defined or articulated positions on labor. I bet that might surprise the rank and file a bit.

Cegelis has been a union member and comes from a union family. In 2004 she received widespread union support, including an endorsement from the AFL-CIO. Cegelis hasn't changed her views to position herself politically; she hasn't shrunk from her outspoken support for labor and union issues to curry favor. She's on the record consistently opposing CAFTA, advocating for raising the minimum wage, and opposing changes in overtime pay eligibility. Cegelis' views on labor are not only known, but demonstrated through actions and not just well crafted words written by a publicist. But more importantly, her actions have no strings attached to them.

Foundationally, Cegelis' campaign is about helping ordinary everyday Americans reclaim the American Dream. Key to the American Dream is the American middle class success. And key to the middle class has been organized labor. The two are not separate and she knows it:
America’s economic stability rests on the strength of our middle class and the strength of our middle class rests on how we can make the American Dream a reality for everyone.

[...]

As globalization causes increasing numbers of American jobs to be outsourced, the Bush Administration pushed CAFTA through Congress. CAFTA and other free trade agreements bring increasing job losses at a time when we can least afford it. Our Republican leadership has expanded the H-1B visa program to foreign workers -- bringing workers in from outside our country to train and perform jobs once held by Americans. That means foreign workers are being trained in America for jobs that will then be shifted overseas. As a consultant at area corporations, I have seen first-hand the jobs lost to the H-1B program and the outsourcing that is a direct result. These are good-paying jobs that are not replaced here. In Congress, I will oppose CAFTA and other similar free-trade agreements and I will vote to reduce the number of H-1B visas draining jobs from our industries.

My grandfather was a union steel worker, and I am proud of the strong work ethic and fight for workers’ rights he exemplified. If I am elected to Congress, I plan to fight hard to protect the rights unions have won for all workers including collective bargaining, overtime pay, and sick leave. I will fight to continue to work towards equal pay enforcement, and to make the minimum wage a livable minimum wage. It will take resolve to reclaim our American Dream, and it’s a battle I’m prepared to take on.

Since Cegelis was a union member and comes from a union family she understands first hand the issues important to union members and working families in the district. She's not just talking the talk. She's walking the walk. And she's walked that walk in many a local union hall in the district. Just like she'll be doing this weekend.

This Saturday, Cegelis will host a conversation on labor and employment issues - at a union hall where she's spoken to gatherings of union members before:
Christine will team up with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in an event highlighting labor and job creation issues. Please plan to join us and add your voice to a spirited discussion of these critical issues facing District 6. In 2005, DuPage County posted its first job loss numbers in more than 50 years, according to the Daily Herald. As many area companies announce layoffs and outsourcing is on the rise, solutions and fresh ideas are needed.

So together with the senior most woman in Congress known for her support of labor, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Cegelis will discuss labor issues with district residents and union members at the International Association of Machinists Hall. That's a demonstration of genuine command of the issue and honest interaction with district residents, not just an orchestrated media endorsement event.

The machine wants you to believe Cegelis can't win. Prove them wrong here.