Democrat Creigh Deeds is going to have at least 5,000 Virginia union workers working for his campaign this fall against Republican Bob McDonnell.
On Tuesday, the Service Employees International Union threw it's weight behind the Bath County Democrat's bid for the Virginia executive mansion. Let's just say that McDonnell's folks probably weren't holding their breath waiting for this endorsement.
Unions are going to play an interesting role in this year's Virginia elections and in some ways they already have been a major player during the spring. Democrats saw a lot of national unions during the spring campaign when Terry McAuliffe picked up some big endorsements from unions and the Democratic Governors Association ran a strong anti-McDonnell campaign.
Here's a statement from some SEIU folks:
“The national economic crisis has left too many families in the Commonwealth reeling, despite the fact that Virginia is currently in much better shape than much of the nation. Hardworking women and men simply cannot afford to slip any farther behind in this economy, and they want their next governor to not just understand their concerns but to fight for them. Senator Deeds has an impressive record fighting on behalf of working families and has earned his reputation as a consensus builder who the working families of Virginia can count on,” said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.
“We need Creigh Deeds as our governor because he knows people need decent paying jobs to make ends meet,” said Romelia Legendre, an office cleaner and 32BJ SEIU member from Alexandria, Virginia. “He understands that we need to get workers back on their feet if we are to get the economy going.”
Meanwhile, McDonnell's folks are not sitting around and waiting for people to make the connection between Deeds and the union. McDonnell's folks said the SEIU is explicitly after Virginia's right-to-work laws.
The SEIU supports overturning Virginia's Right to Work law, a crucial part of Virginia's pro-jobs economic environment. In the SEIU's candidate survey the union asked:
"Virginia's so-called 'Right to Work' law does not guarantee any rights. In fact, by weakening unions and collective bargaining, 'Right to Work" 'lowers wages for all Virginians, endangers safety and health standards that protect workers, destroys job security, and prevents Virginia's working families from earning health insurance benefits. Do you support a path to overturn the so-called 'Right to Work' laws?"
Union workers do some serious heavy lifting during election season - especially when it comes to get-out-the-vote efforts. But McDonnell is definitely going to get some mileage out of unions and the state's pro-business climate during an election all about jobs.