2018 Politics Starts on Labor Day as Fight for 15, SEIU Start Voter Engagement Drive

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Next year’s politics are starting this Labor Day, as political hopefuls planned to join Fight for 15’s mass walkout of fast-food workers and hospital and nurses’ aides on September 4, Fight for 15 And A Union said. And that group and the Service employees also will use the day to kick off what they call “a massive voter engagement drive” in advance of next year’s races.

The walkouts are planned for more than 300 cities across the Midwest, especially those where factories once supplied well-paying jobs but where lower-paying hospitals “now reign,” the two groups said.

Along with the walkouts, the two groups also plan to campaign “to unseat anti-worker politicians” and elect “leaders who support the $15 an hour minimum wage, union rights, universal health care, racial justice and immigration reform,” they said.

Among the hopefuls who plan to join them, Fight for 15 predicts are SEIU Local 199 President Cathy Glesson in Iowa, who is so pissed-off at the GOP’s antics in Des Moines and D.C. that she’s thrown her hat into the Democratic gubernatorial race there.

Also expected to campaign with the fast-food and health care workers are Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Jerry Springer in Ohio, incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania and former Wisconsin Fire Fighters state President Mahlon Mitchell.  Walz is an Education Minnesota member.

The Illinois AFL-CIO, over objections from several unions, endorsed Pritzker, a multi-millionaire, to combat vicious anti-union GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, a longtime multi-millionaire hedge fund manager. Rauner made destruction of Illinois public worker unions his top goal via budget shenanigans, as has right-wing Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., who seeks re-election.

Randy Bryce, an Ironworker running to unseat U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., planned to join Mitchell and workers in Milwaukee. The Rev. William Barber and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry planned to march in Chicago with the gubernatorial hopefuls and the workers. Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minn., a Bernie Sanders supporter who is deputy Demo-cratic National Committee chairman, will join striking McDonald’s workers in St. Paul. 

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work