Contact: Tim Waters, 412-562-2295; 412-999-3587
Pittsburgh (Apr. 25) - Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers (USW), issued the following statement that cited a big "unified labor movement, boots-on-the-ground' push by union members as behind Pennsylvania's CD-12 Democratic primary win by Congressman Mark Critz following the 10:15 pm concession by U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire.
"Pundits were skeptical we could prevail with our endorsement of Congressman Critz in yesterday's Democratic primary contest, but sheer determination and a tenacious commitment by our members ‘boots-on-the-ground' persuaded the voters, and motivated a solid turnout to overcome the advantages in the re-drawn district that was thought to belong to Rep. Altmire."
Gerard said more than 400 USW activist volunteers participated in this campaign and in the past two days alone, USW activists knocked on 5,211 doors in the congressional district, while another 192 USW and other union members operated phone banks to urge voters to the polls for Critz.
USW members in the congressional district were contacted a minimum of seven times through worksite visits, letters from the union, precinct canvassing and a recorded 32,345 calls in just the 36 hours prior the closing of the polls alone.
"We and our labor allies ran an experienced, smart grassroots field program with shoe leather and sheer determination that demonstrated we had the ability to elect Altmire to his first term, and to run him out of office when he broke his word by his conservative voting record that put him on the side of the opposing political party more often than the side of working families," Gerard said.
The USW President noted that the labor-endorsed Critz overcame a 24 point polling gap that was bench-marked 24 days prior to the election. "We are proud of Congressman Critz's steady commitment to union voices in this campaign, and fully expect him to prevail in the November election against his Republican opponent."