Friends on both sides of the aisle

By DAVID A. COOK
President

Lately it’s not uncommon to see various Labor organizations be accused of serving as nothing but liberal organizations that repeat the talking points of only one political party. The idea that Organized Labor is somehow just a machine working to elect Democrats has become a little more common lately, but it’s simply not the case, and let’s talk about why I say this.

I’ll begin by saying that it is true Local 655 has endorsed and supported more Democrats than Republicans in the last few election cycles. We endorsed Joe Biden in 2020 and we supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It’s critical to understand though that there has never been an election cycle I can recall in which this Local didn’t also support Republican candidates.

BASED ON THEIR RECORD
I’ve said the same thing many times: we support candidates based on their records and their stated positions on issues that directly impact our partners in the workplace.

Issues like minimum wage, paid family leave, and workplace safety are vital to us. Of course, we also have an unflinching position opposing so-called “right-to-work for less” laws that weaken the power of workers and reduce benefits and wages, as well as prevailing wage laws that reduce worker pay and safety. Those are the issues we care about.

As our partners, you don’t pay dues so we can take a position on issues like abortion or gun control, the teaching of critical race theory in schools, or the endless cycle of other social issues that seem to dominate cable news. While many issues are important to voters, our organization’s job is to make sure that our partners don’t suffer at work at the hands of the people that run for office.

AUGUST PRIMARY IS IMPORTANT
We judge candidates on workplace issues and that’s it. Period. The upcoming August Primary in Missouri is a perfect example of that, and proof that we mean what we say. Allow me to explain.

In the U.S. Senate race in Missouri we have chosen to endorse Trudy Busch Valentine based on her stated positions on issues like opposing the phony “right-to-work for less” and raising the minimum wage, among a number of other worker issues.

We have not endorsed any of the Republican candidates because every one of them has taken a position favoring the anti-worker “right-to-work (for less)”.

REPUBLICAN SUPPORT
While we will not support any Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat, we are happy to support several Republicans running for the state Senate here in Missouri because they have good positions on issues impacting workers.

In the State Senate we’re happy to endorse and support:

  • Senate District 10 – Jeff Porter.
  • Senate District 22  Jeff Roorda.
  • Senate District 26 – Nate Tate.

All three are running for office in the Republican primary.

Do I personally agree with all their positions? No, probably not.

However, these endorsements aren’t about my personal beliefs, they are about the policies that will affect you the partners I represent.

All three of these candidates will cast votes that help protect union workers.

Sadly, not all Republican candidates share their values and understand the importance of protecting hard-working Missourians from greedy corporate interests. This is why we do not support some of their fellow Republicans.

EMBARRASSING CANDIDATES
The Republicans seeking office for U.S. Senate in Missouri continue to embarrass our state in their endless race to the bottom.

While this organization will not support any of them, and while I personally cannot support any of them, there is a special place at the bottom of the list for our disgraced ex-governor, Eric Greitens.

Greitens signed the anti-worker “right-to-work for less” into law and in 2018 I’m happy to say the people of Missouri overwhelmingly overturned it in a clear rebuke. Greitens also signed a law to lower the minimum wage in the City of St. Louis, directly taking money out of the pockets of thousands of workers and our own partners.

As if that were not bad enough, he also was accused of sexual assault in disgusting detail. He does not represent Missouri values, and he has no place in public office.

Fortunately, not all Republicans are like Greitens. Porter, Roorda and Tate all have positive positions on worker’s issues and that’s why we will continue to support them.

NO PARTY IS PERFECT
We should also be clear that not every Democrat has always come through on their promises to Organized Labor. This is simply a fact.

More importantly, it highlights a critical detail when we talk about politics: neither political party is perfect on our issues and neither one can claim to be the only one that fights for workers. There are good and bad candidates and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, and our job isn’t to provide blanket support to either one.

Our job is to support candidates that we believe will fight for the interests of the men and women we represent.

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