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6 Nov 2020

Dave Jamieson, HuffPost

Organized labour helped boost Biden In critical battlegrounds

With a Democratic presidency close at hand, unions say they played a critical role in turning members and other voters out at the polls, especially in dense urban areas of swing states, like Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Las Vegas... Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO labor federation, told reporters on a call Thursday that his union members came out overwhelmingly in favor of Biden. The AFL-CIO conducted a poll of 1,000 members on Nov. 2 and 3 and found that they preferred Biden to Trump 58% to 37%.

... Preliminary exit polling suggests Biden did perform well with union households in the Midwest, with the possible exception of Ohio, which Trump won again by a healthy margin. But unions also made a big contribution to the Biden campaign through their get-out-the-vote efforts. [Trece] Andrews’ union, SEIU, said it focused its efforts on Black and Latino residents who had sat out the 2016 election in cities in Michigan and Wisconsin. It conducted outreach alongside its Fight for $15 campaign, which is well known for its worker strikes in the fast-food industry... When pundits talk about the “working class” vote in the Midwest, they are generally talking about white people. Andrews said the Black working class gets overlooked during elections.

... The hospitality union Unite Here carried out an aggressive door-knocking campaign in Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania, arguing that it could be done safely and was crucial to defeating Trump... Many union members who took part in the paid canvassing program had been laid-off from their jobs in the hotel and food service industries, and Unite Here said it consulted epidemiologists to make sure its efforts were safe.