Election night, Tuesday, November 6: as race after race was called in favor of our labor-endorsed candidates—up and down the ballot — I wasn’t thinking about the candidates. All I kept seeing was face after face of workers flashing before me — workers talking to their co-workers, workers discussing with their families, and workers reaching out to their neighbors about the challenges and opportunities we have in our communities.
The votes and numbers that resulted in historic wins across our state truly are climactic. But the election tallies really are just a small snapshot of all the work and all the effort that was invested into the past two years.
This year, we tackled something bigger than just an election. We also tackled the very real threat to the existence of our unions — and came out even stronger.
Every conversation we led connected workers to the value of their union and local democracy.
We weren’t experts on the policy issues or the talking points of the day; We were experts on our own personal stories and experiences. And those transformational conversations are what’s going to help us strengthen our unions, continue to win elections, and raise standards for all workers across our region.
Now that the election has passed and we are looking into the new year, our work is just getting started. We have contracts to bargain, roads to build, budgets to pass and policy campaigns to conquer.
But, just like the election, none of those things will be possible without fully engaging our union members and our allies to be active participants in their unions and in their democracy.
The election was a trial run for the work we must now continue. Here at the MRLF, we are committed to leading campaigns that truly build our strength inside and out, not just in a single electoral campaign or policy arena. That means, just like this past election, we need all of you!
Before we embark on this next chapter, I want to make sure to thank everyone who made our 2018 election wins possible.
Without the union leaders with a vision of what’s possible, we could have just walked away from the election in the aftermath of the Janus Supreme Court decision.
Without the staff of the unions who kept the election machine running 24 hours a day, we couldn’t have talked to as many members as we did in as many places as we did.
Without the volunteers and canvassers who put themselves out there talking to rank and file union members, we would not have moved a single voter to action.
All of you were an important part of this fight. The thanks from myself and the rest of the team here at the MRLF cannot be overstated.
Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou is president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.