The stakes of the 2020 election keep growing — Vote! Volunteer!
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 16, 2020
By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation
Amidst a global pandemic, essential workers find themselves forced to march off the job to get basic safety demands met. The necessary workplace tools to battle this pandemic are falling short and leaving workers behind — from sanitization, to access to COVID-19 tests, to proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Some essential workers are making the ultimate sacrifice, while others live in fear of bringing the disease home to their families.
Essential workers should not have to walk off the job for basic safety demands. Despite the conditions, workers are continuing to care for our kids, teach our learners, drive our buses, deliver our mail, stock our shelves, fix our streets, manufacture our PPE and care for the most vulnerable — because they know it is their duty. Essential workers should have all minimum safety standards met — plus hazard pay, proper training and a say in the safety plan.
This is the backdrop that frontline workers are facing as they think about the monumental election ahead of us. Layer on the economic insecurity of the rest of the workforce and the stakes of this election just keep growing.
Hopefully, many of you already have voted by mail or in person at an early voting location. If not, make your plan to vote!
Because we need a groundswell of workers marching to the polls to vote for safety, to vote for dignity and to vote for a better future. We need a groundswell of workers marching to the polls to protect our very democracy.
This year, we all must take on a special duty to talk to our co-workers, neighbors and families about the issues and our endorsed candidates.
While no one election alone will determine the destiny of our labor movement, it will significantly shape the ecosystem in which we will organize.
That ecosystem starts with the White House and goes all the way down to our school boards. Every level of elected leadership needs to step up in this moment and deliver what working families need.
In addition to support for our main labor principles, commitments to adequate resources, support of pro-active policies and demonstration of effective leadership are a few of the issues we considered when making our 2020 endorsements (see our AFL-CIO endorsement list).
This year, we all must take on a special duty to talk to our co-workers, our neighbors, and our families about the issues and our endorsed candidates. Normally, we would be knocking on thousands of doors, but this year we have needed to be more creative. We need you to join the team of volunteers making calls, handing out signs and texting our friends.
When the noise of election machine gets to be too much to bear, think about the nurse who is reusing their PPE mask for the third time this week. Think about the educator who is Zooming a room full of kindergartners. Think about the worker laid off since March, trying to survive another month of rent and groceries.
I hope all of you can find your own personal way to contribute to the collective work called for by this moment.
To volunteer for virtual phonebanks, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Note of Thanks
I would like to extend a special note of thanks to the staff and volunteers of the MRLF who have shown exemplary fortitude throughout this pandemic and election season. Nothing has been easy. The entire labor movement should be proud of them.
Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or email@example.com.