In the recent Primary Election for the Minneapolis School Board, one of our CLUC-endorsed candidates came in fourth place, just 130 votes behind the third place finisher. Only the top three candidates will be elected come November 2, so if this had been the General Election, our Labor-endorsed candidate would have lost by an average of only ONE VOTE per precinct. Repeat: ONE VOTE per precinct.
That?s not the sort of math we want to be calculating the day after the Nov. 2 election ? for this race, or any other race.
Only about a month remains until the Nov. 2 election. During these next few weeks, you can make a difference in the outcome of the election.
Whatever your time, interests, or skills, you can help. You can help for a few hours one day, or for many hours over several days. Volunteer for a shift at a phone bank. Join a doorknock or literature drop. Pass out flyers at your workplace. Write a letter to the editor. Talk to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. Offer a ride to the polls on Election Day to your elderly neighbor or tell the mom or dad next door that you?ll watch their kids so they can go vote.
Whatever fits you, please do it! The Labor 2004 campaign is encouraging everyone to use time off from work to volunteer or to arrange for vacation days, particularly the last few days before the election and on Election Day itself. To volunteer, call Kyle or Andrea at the CLUC: 612-379-4206.
Too much is at stake in this election to sit by quietly on the sidelines. The daily newspaper the last few days provides ample evidence that this country needs a change of leadership. George W. Bush will become the first U.S. president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs to the U.S. economy.
The U.S. budget deficit is at an all-time high: a record $436.9 billion so far, with one month to go in the 2004 federal budget year (and that tops last year?s previous record, $374 billion).
Another record: the number of ?discouraged workers? ? the people who have given up looking for work ? is at a 10-year high. Meanwhile, war casualties continue to mount in Iraq, recently passing the mark of 1,000 U.S. troops killed and thousands more wounded.
Are we better off than four years ago? No.
Bill McCarthy is president of the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council, AFL-CIO. This commentary is reprinted from the Minneapolis Labor Review.