By DAVID A. COOK
At some point in every election season we will eventually hear the same question. One of our partners will eventually ask us about how we donate funds to candidates for office, or causes that are on the ballot.
There’s a video on our YouTube page about precisely this issue. The video focuses on our Active Ballot Club (ABC) Fund. This fund is supported 100% by voluntary donations from our hard-working partners, many of whom know that even just $1 per week can make an enormous difference.
Some of our partners want to know why we are engaged in politics at all, and that’s a perfectly fair question. The answer is simple: we have to be involved in politics, because politics is consistently targeting us. I can promise you that the moment that politicians decide to leave us alone, Local 655 will start leaving them alone.
Sadly, politicians too often pay attention to Organized Labor for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s Right-to-Work-for-Less, or paycheck deception, or rolling back prevailing wage, it seems some politicians aren’t happy unless they are trying to dismantle Labor unions in this country. So, we have to be engaged, and we have to be involved. Like the old saying goes: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
IMPACT ON WORKING PEOPLE
Just a few short years ago we fought hard to defeat Right-to-Work-for-Less, but we also fought to raise the minimum wage in this state and supported Clean Missouri, an effort to get big money out of politics. We’re thrilled to say that we were successful. This means we helped beat back a measure meant to weaken unions and empower billionaires; we helped stop a few wealthy donors from buying our democracy; we were able to raise wages for all Missourians.
But whether it’s at the kitchen table or on social media, many of you know that politics is fraught by people with strong opposing opinions where passions can often run high. We determine whether or not we’re going to donate to a cause based on: will this impact hard-working people? We determine if we will support a candidate the same way. Does the candidate have a good position on the issues affecting working people?
FRIENDS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE
We are proud to say we have friends on both sides of the aisle, and we will continue to forge those bipartisan friendships. We know that there are many, many issues that voters care about, and those issues can inspire heated debate. But simply put: we don’t care about issues outside of our wheelhouse.
As an organization that advocates and supports hard-working men and women, it’s not our place to weigh in on the issues that so often animate cable news. We don’t take positions on gun laws or abortion and we don’t talk about foreign policy.
In short, we try to stay in our line. Labor remains one of the best forces in America to fight on behalf of ordinary working families. Major corporations and billionaires have their wealth and the army of lobbyists. These wealthy special interests have no trouble rigging the game in their favor; whether it’s eliminating regulations designed to keep our planet cleaner or our workers safer, these powerful interests don’t shy away from politics simply because the issues are controversial.
WHEN UNIONS DONATE
But when unions donate money to causes or candidates, it’s not the same as a billionaire seeking to buy our democracy. When Local 655 contributes to a campaign, it’s not a check written by one man trying to gain more power. It’s a check comprised of the donations of thousands and thousands of regular Missourians like you. It is a moment of collective action, where families like this one pool our resources to stand up for ourselves.
As we creep more into 2020, you’ll be hearing more from us about the importance of supporting candidates that actually support Labor and average workers like us. You’ll be hearing more about registering to vote and getting educated on the important issues.
We have to care about elections, because elections always have consequences. It’s been said that you get the government you deserve. We think we deserve better, so let’s go out and get it.
If you are interested in donating to the UFCW Local 655 ABC Fund, please contact us any time at 636-394-6500.