August 2, 2013
By Michael Gravinese
Have you ever entered the ballot booth, looked at the ballot, and realized you were not sure who should receive your vote? You are now faced with the prospect of a guess-vote or not voting in a particular race; either way, not a great choice. I suspect this has happened to all of us at one time or another. When it does happen, I know I have mentally kicked myself for not being a better prepared voter. And while we all have a responsibility to be independently informed voters, your local Labor Council is a resource that can offer guidance on individual candidates. No longer do you need to guess on a vote or skip a particular race.
How do Labor Councils do that? They do so by meeting with each candidate to discuss their opinions/positions on labor and working family issues. At the end of the process, the Labor Council makes recommendations of support for candidates who have working family interests at heart. These candidates are labor-endorsed, and union members will receive a flyer before the election advising of that endorsement.
In Raleigh the Triangle Labor Council recently completed our screening process for City Council, Mayor, and Wake County School Board. We invited candidates to appear before the Labor Council for a 30 minute interview and we screened each candidate on labor/working family issues. Note that not all invited candidates chose to take part in this screening. Thus, not every position up for election will necessarily have a recommended or endorsed candidate. For those candidates we do endorse, you can be assured that the Labor Council is confident this candidate is working-family friendly and has the same values and interests that we support.
Put another way, candidates for/by the 1% and corporations need not apply! We want candidates who are willing to improve the lot of working families through their legislative agenda.
So next time you get a list of endorsed candidates from your local Labor Council, take a close look. By all means do your due diligence and became an informed voter. Just know that when in doubt, folks who share your values and concerns have met with the endorsed candidate, explored their views, and are comfortable recommending them to you for your vote.
Want to get involved in your local Labor Council and activities like candidate screening? For more information, contact the NC State AFL-CIO at 919-833-6678 for information on how to become a delegate to your Central Labor Council.
Michael Gravinese is President of the Triangle Labor Council, the local AFL-CIO chapter for the greater Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. He is a member of AFGE.