| By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation
We've seen a lot of big numbers this election. The Koch Brothers Super PAC spent $4 million to back the deceptive Prop 32. Billionaire Charles Munger Jr. kicked in $35 million against Prop 30 and for Prop 32. A shady Arizona group that refuses to disclose its donors funneled $11 million into our state to attack California schools and workers. But now, there's only one number that matters: 35,000. That's the number of union volunteers fanning out across the state, in communities big and small, to fight the big money interests behind the attacks on Prop 30 and the fraudulent ads backing Prop 32.
The California labor movement has mounted its largest Get Out the Vote effort in history this year, contacting millions of voters one-on-one about the stakes in this election. These volunteers aren't members of the 1%. They're everyday working people taking time in the evenings and on the weekends to improve their communities by standing up to the powerful special interests who have spent tens of millions of dollars this year in an effort to rig the system even further to their own benefit.
On Saturday, precinct walks and phone banks across the state were overflowing with volunteers ready to deliver a final message to voters about the importance of passing Prop 30, which protects our schools from another $6 billion in devastating cuts, and defeating Prop 32, a truly deceptive measure to silence working people while giving more power to corporate special interests.
In Sacramento, over 200 volunteers were up bright and early to walk precincts across the region. California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski joined California Teachers Association President Dean Vogel and SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker at the Sacramento Labor Council to fire up the volunteers before they hit the streets. Volunteers were talking to voters about 30 and 32 as well as the importance of electing working family candidates like Dr. Ami Bera, Ken Cooley and others.
Pulaski told the crowd that while the billionaires may have deep pockets, it pales in comparison to the grassroots power of the labor movement:
We've got thousands upon thousands of workers across the state volunteering to get out the vote. And that's going to make all the difference on Election Day.
Donchele Soper, a PG&E employee and member of IBEW 1245, handed out packets to volunteers, helping get them prepared for the day's precinct walks. She's been working tirelessly alongside teachers, iron workers, machinists, home care providers and many others to get out the vote.
We need to all work together. It's hard, long work but we know what a difference we make when we stand together.
In Burbank, Paul Ahrens of IATSE Local 44 joined over 100 volunteers at IATSE Local 80 to pound the pavement Saturday.
The only way we beat their money is people power. It's so important for people who care about our state to come and have personal contact with those in our communities. This is crunch time and we're going to get it done.
In Stockton, hundreds of volunteers hit the streets to get out the word on the dangerous Prop 32 and in support of Prop 30 and congressional candidate Jose Hernandez.