AFL-CIO Calls for Volunteers Ahead of Midterms

"The bottom line is: We need people to get out and vote; there are no do-overs here," said AFT President Randi Weingarten at an AFL-CIO town hall event. Weingarten and other labor leaders at the event emphasized to listeners the urgency with which the labor movement must continue to organize ahead of the 2022 midterm elections taking place Nov. 8, directing volunteers to their Labor 2022 website to get involved. 

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told listeners that workers need to "organize like we have never organized before" to support pro-worker candidates. Shuler identified retirement security as a key issue on the ballot this November, highlighting potential threats to pensions, Social Security and Medicare.

Shuler described an agenda among Republican candidates to slash Social Security and Medicare, benefits which Shuler argued workers have earned and worked for their entire lives. She specifically called out incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who has proposed subjecting Social Security and Medicare to annual congressional spending bills, leaving those programs suscepitble to major cuts.

"It makes my stomach turn," Shuler said of the proposal, "Half of all workers in this country are in danger of retiring in poverty. Most low-wage workers have no retirement at all, and rely entirely on Social Security." 

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond further emphasized the importance of the upcoming midterm elections by asking listeners to distinguish between candidates on one central question, "The question is, will they stand up for retirees and protect their pensions, Social Security and Medicare, or will they turn their back on us?" 

United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh appealed to listeners to vote for Democratic candidates by highlighting the successes of the Biden adminstration in strengthening retirement security for workers. Walsh related the story that he and President Biden had heard from workers across the country time and time again, that they had spent their whole career paying into pension funds that were being cut just before their retirement. Walsh touted the administration's success in responding to this issue by passing the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan, which provides financial relief for multiemployer and single-employer pension plans. 

Shuler concluded the town hall with a request for volunteers to canvass locally or to phone bank to battleground states, stressing that the importance of volunteering ahead of these midterms could not be overstated.

"We know what’s at stake," she said. "And that’s why we cannot get to November 8th and look back and wish we had done more."

Considering volunteering? Click here to see how you can get involved with the AFL-CIO's campaign organizing.