Nov. 3, 2014
UUP leaders, members mobilize in election’s last hours
UUP leaders and members joined with their NYSUT sisters and brothers Monday during the countdown hours of the 2014 campaign, in a final push for labor-friendly and pro-public education candidates.
UUP President Fred Kowal and VP for Professionals Philippe Abraham stopped off first to collect campaign materials at the Capital District Area Labor Federation in Albany, which was abuzz with activity as NYSUT staffers worked the phones. NYSUT and UUP staff also volunteered at the calling center at NYSUT headquarters.
Kowal and Abraham then visited homes of union members in Schenectady on behalf of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk (D-Duanesburg), who are all running for re-election.
In this neighborhood of mostly working families, few voters were home in the mid-afternoon, but Kowal said that any contact with union households in these final hours was a positive step. He and Abraham left literature that included a special message to unionists from the Capital District Area Labor Federation urging support for Tkaczyk.
“This is the culmination of all our previous efforts over the last two months, going back to our Labor Day parade,” Kowal said. “It’s all about getting working people out to vote, to make sure our interests are protected and to build a New York that works in our favor.”
Abraham said that even in this era of automated phone messages and Internet advertising, the fact that union leaders and members were willing to volunteer to walk door to door on behalf of labor-friendly candidates would resonate with people.
Kowal repeated a theme he recently delivered at the 2014 Fall Delegate Assembly: The work to insure a Legislature that supports public higher education is a year-round effort, and all UUP members need to advocate for a stronger SUNY. That means visiting lawmakers in their home districts, turning out for advocacy events in Albany and working on behalf of candidates endorsed by NYSUT and the New York State AFL-CIO.
Union leaders accept that year-round advocacy is part of their job, and one that they gladly undertake, Kowal noted. But, he added, “We’re more effective if we are walking side by side with our members.”
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