CFL News
November 07, 2012

Victory Night for working families

Working men and women had a lot to celebrate on Election Night in Chicago

After months of campaigning, volunteering and getting out the vote, union members made a huge impact in deciding critical races in yesterday’s election, from the top of the ticket all the way to the bottom.

President Barack Obama won his home state of Illinois by an overwhelming margin, yet union members helped get out the vote in nearby battleground states such as Wisconsin and Iowa, both of which contributed to his decisive victory in his bid for reelection.

In Illinois, union members helped pick up five U.S. House seats, electing challengers Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster in the Chicago area plus William Enyart and Cheri Bustos downstate.

A union-led effort helped defeat a proposed amendment to the Illinois constitution on public employee pensions. The amendment would have made it more difficult for public employees to negotiate better benefits from their employer. The constitutional amendment required either a three-fifths majority or 50 percent of the total number of votes cast in the election in Illinois, and fell short of both.

In the state legislature, Democrats won veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate. Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan, a member of IBEW Local 134, and Mike Smiddy, an AFSCME member from the Quad Cities area, both won election to the Illinois House.

Nationally, union members played a major role in shaping the outcome of the presidential race. According to election night research conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO, union members voted for President Obama over Mitt Romney 65 percent to 33 percent. 

Voters believed that President Obama would focus on helping working people and the middle class while Romney would focus on helping the wealthy. Issues important to working families drove support for the President—creating good jobs, protecting Medicare and Social Security benefits and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes—the survey showed. 

The labor movement set up a firewall in critical battleground states like Wisconsin, Nevada and Ohio where union members voted for President Obama 70 percent to 29 percent. In all, the labor election program made more than 80 million phone calls to union members and working class households, knocked on more than 14 million doors, had conversations with more than 3 million workers in the workplace and sent more than 75 million pieces of mail.