AFL-CIO launches website highlighting union member candidates and elected officials

AFL-CIO launches website highlighting union member candidates and elected officials
click to enlarge Lindsey Williams - CP PHOTO: AARON WARNICK

CP photo: Aaron Warnick

Lindsey Williams

On Nov. 5, more than 300 union members were elected to office nationwide, adding to the 984 who were elected in last year’s midterm elections, according to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

And in response to the growing support of labor candidates, the AFL-CIO has launched a new website highlighting union members running for or already elected to office. The AFL-CIO is a national union advocacy group that represents 12.5 million working people and operates one of the largest job-readiness training programs in the country.

Half of the AFL-CIO traces its origin back to Pittsburgh, which was the site of the formation of Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the 1930s.

Candidates who belong to the AFL-CIO’s Union Member Candidate Program will be featured on the website so that constituents can read about their platforms and follow their progress while in office. The AFL-CIO says that electing union members is a direct way to protect workers' rights.

“Our efforts recruiting, training, and supporting labor candidates have led to the passage of pro-worker legislation from coast to coast and everywhere in between,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.

Pittsburgh is home to candidates with union backgrounds too. State Sen. Lindsey Williams (D-West View) was illegally fired for trying to start a union years ago while working for the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, D.C. She applauds the AFL-CIO for highlighting union membership among candidates and politicians.

“Union members are taught that an injury to one is an injury to all and that we need to fight for our neighbors,” says Williams. “This is exactly what elected officials should be doing — fighting for the rights of everyone in our community. Union members advocate for the same things that I work for every day in Harrisburg: higher wages, access to quality, affordable healthcare, safe working conditions, and a secure retirement.”

The program will continue through 2020 and beyond.