Don Slaten has been volunteering in support of his union’s political program for years. Never has he seen a campaign season like this one, marked by social distance, early voting and a highly polarized voting public. “It’s just unreal,” said Slaten, a retired member of Machinists Local Lodge 459 who became active in local politics in the mid-1980s. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
In an election cycle with no playbook, Minnesota’s unions have adjusted their approach to politics. Physical distance is now baked into the Labor 2020 campaign strategy, with phone and text banks taking the place of most door-to-door canvassing.