Ohio AFL-CIO  

Oct. 7, 2004--Ohio AFL-CIO President William A. Burga at the federation's headquarters at 395 E. Broad St. in Columbus.  The Ohio AFL-CIO's Take Back Ohio, in conjuction with AFL-CIO's Labor 2004, has organized the state into 10 zones, with a full-time leader in each zone.  Burga stated, "...we have put more people in the field both as volunteer and paid staff than we've ever had; we've been working longer than we ever have..."  (read more below)

(Below) Working America, the "community affiliate" of the AFL-CIO, has an office in the basement of the building.

Brief Interview with Ohio AFL-CIO President William A. Burga (early Oct. 2004)

BURGA: Just so you have an historical perspective, two years ago, in October of 2002, I appointed a task force on political action in the Ohio AFL-CIO because we needed to look at how we were doing our elections and to change the culture of everything that we were doing because we were losing or at least our candidates that we supported were losing.  So that task force came up with a plan last August that our executive board approved, and we've been working with it ever since. 

In December of last year we had a strategy conference with 900 people showing up and that told us that there was really a lot of interest out among our membership to electe somone besides George Bush.  Of course that was before the Democratic primaries.  Since the Democratic primaries everyone--there's been more excitement and more interest in this election than we've seen in many, many years for John Kerry and to get Bush out of office.

So our new structure that we put in place for this election, working in cooperation with the national AFL-CIO and our affiiliates, we have put more people in the field both as volunteer and paid staff than we've ever had; we've been working longer than we ever have, since the first of the year on this.  Usually in the past we would start around Labor Day and we've been working now since January of this last year.  We've been doing walks of our membership, talking to them personally.  We've been giving information at the worksite.  We've been doing phoning; we've been doing mailings to our members.  It's just been so much more than we've ever done, even though some of it is what we've always done.  The new thing that we've done are the walks this early.  Used to be we would go out and walk door to door on Election Day and maybe the day before.  This time we've been out walking now since August.  We had almost 3,500 volunteers doing a walk on one day; 3,500 volunteers walking door to door on one day.  We have about 5,000 volunteers doing something all the time.  And we have now close to 200 people, full-time staff from AFL-CIO unions working in our campaign in Ohio, and that's growing by the day for this last month.

Copyright © 2004, 2005 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.