A 2 million-member union will be making its largest-ever investment in a presidential election this year—and for good reason. The Service Employees International Union announced plans to spend $150 million to defeat Donald Trump and turn the tide in what Mary Kay Henry, the union’s president, calls “a make-or-break” for workers.
”He’s systematically unwinding and attacking unions. Federal workers rights have been totally eviscerated under his watch,” Henry told the Associated Press. “We are on fire about the rules being rigged against us and needing to elect people that are going to stand with workers.”
The SEIU’s campaign will focus on the critical battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Trump, of course, won Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which are key targets to flip in 2020, while Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, and Virginia are important states to defend (and Colorado is an opportunity to defeat an incumbent Republican senator). “The union and its local members will pay particular attention to two key urban battlegrounds they believe will play a defining role in the 2020 general election: Detroit and Milwaukee,” according to the Associated Press.
The union’s focus will be not on television advertising but “primarily on direct contact and online advertising targeting minority men and women who typically don’t vote.” The campaign plans to reach 6 million voters.
Half of SEIU members are people of color, many are immigrants, many are women, and more than half make less than $15 an hour. This $150 million investment in beating Trump is about their futures—about whether there will be a National Labor Relations Board that supports workers’ organizing rights under the law or penalizes employers that retaliate against workers for their activism, about whether the federal minimum wage will ever rise, about health care and child care, about whether workplace safety regulations are enforced or continue to be gutted.
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