Yesterday, working families saw major wins in the elections held in New York, Virginia, Boston, Ohio and New Jersey.
The impact of grassroots power was especially evident in the groundbreaking minimum wage increase in New Jersey.
In Boston, voters elected union member Marty Walsh (D) for mayor. In Virginia, a bellwether state, Terry McAuliffe (D) won the governorship. In Ohio, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly--78% to 2%--defeated a city charter amendment that would have eliminated the defined benefit pension plan for newly hired city employees. And in New York City, voters elected Bill de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor in more than two decades.
Union City's Chris Garlock spoke with Northern Virginia Area Labor Federation President Daniel Duncan who talked about the importance of working families turning out to vote, "We did our part in Northern Virginia and I'm just so proud of everyone who showed up and helped out."
Union members, staff and leaders had crisscrossed the state yesterday in a final effort to turn out the labor vote for union-endorsed candidates. “No vote can be taken for granted,” said Roxie Mejia, director of Political Affairs for Painters and Allied Trades District Council 51. “Electing labor-friendly folks makes all the difference,” District Council 51 Business Agent Lynn Taylor said.
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech reflects on the raise the wage campaign working families waged in New Jersey:
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO was proud to fight on the front lines of an epic battle to raise the state minimum wage, and did so as a founding partner of the statewide grassroots coalition Working Families United for New Jersey Inc., which united the efforts of 256 labor, community, religious, civil rights, student, progressive, women and retirees groups as part of the “Raise the Wage” campaign....Raising the minimum wage was an unequivocal victory for the labor movement that will give hardworking men and women a financial boost and raise the standard of living for all working families.
New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez says:
Today, New York City’s labor movement took a stand against 12 years of austerity politics that have taken precedence over the needs of everyday New Yorkers. Together with our affiliates, we took to the streets to make our voices heard, and together, we voted against policies and deals designed to favor the wealthy, while ignoring the needs of our cities working families....Throughout the five boroughs, residents cast their votes for Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio, a man who understands the severity of our city’s income equality problem, and who is ready to tackle that problem head-on.
In Washington State, another groundbreaking minimum wage increase ballot measure affecting more than 6,000 low-wage airport workers is currently leading, but votes are still being counted. The measure would increase the minimum wage for SeaTac workers to $15.00 an hour and would provide sick days and other benefits.