CFL News
June 05, 2012

Wisconsin: Nationwide GOTV Recall Drive's Ringing the Phones

AFL-CIO blog story looks at Chicago volunteers helping get-out-the-vote in the Wisconsin recall election

Source: AFL-CIO Now Blog

By Mike Hall

The battle in Wisconsin resonates far beyond its borders. That’s why working people across the country are volunteering their time at phone banks in a huge get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive for Tom Barrett in today’s recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (R).

The 40 lines at the Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 14 have been buzzing since Wednesday, says Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) Political Director Hanah Jubeh. 

Every seat in the house is full. The response has been great.  

Monday afternoon, Lalo Juarez of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 269 was busy talking to Wisconsin voters and said he was "getting really good feedback.” He is volunteering because he has family and friends in Wisconsin and says:

We’ve got to stop these kinds of attacks on working people from spreading.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 34071 member John Bachtell says the Wisconsin recall elections is:

Such a historic event and gives us the chance to reverse the power of the corporate and extreme right wing and people like the Koch brothers.

In Denver, Jason Amermon, of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, is on the phones at the Colorado AFL-CIO the day before the election because, he says, the groups that backed Walker’s attacks on workers’ rights and job-killing budget cuts “are trying to get all of us to work cheaper and cheaper.”

It starts at the top with the special interest groups...the 1% percent that wants to own everything.

Kate Stigberg, Colorado AFL-CIO political and community organizer, says the volunteers who have been making calls since Tuesday in Denver at a Pueblo phone bank include union members and Working America members.

While many people are putting in shifts of several hours, others, like the teachers at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, are giving up their lunch breaks to make calls to Wisconsin.

Michael Pagano, of LIUNA Local 1, the Chicago phone bank coordinator, says dozens of teachers from the school across the street from the IUPAT hall bring their lunches and dial into Wisconsin until the lunch bell goes off.

Not everybody is making calls from a phone bank. More than 600 people have signed up for the AFL-CIO’s online pilot program, the Friends and Neighbors tool to make calls from home. Go to to sign up.