Stewart Acuff

Nov 7

We Won! The American People Speak and Act With Strength and Determination

Though many of the state margins were narrow President Obama ran the table winning every swing or battleground state with the possible exception of Florida where votes are still being counted as of 5:30 this morning.

President Obama also won the popular vote by 2 million votes.  The President won 303 electoral votes to 206 for Romney. We knew about 11 pm that the President had won when Ohio was called for him.

Democrats also held the Senate.  Elizabeth Warren won with a good margin in Massachusetts. Claire McKaskill won in Missouri beating Akin–he of the legitimate rape comment. Joe Donnelly also won in Indiana beating Republican Mourdock.  Warren won by eight percentage points. Donnelly won in Indiana by 6 percentage points. Sherrod Brown won re-election. Tammy Baldwin won becoming the first openly gay Senator. Democrats picked up seats in the Senate.

Progressives like you worked their hearts out all over America for our people, our country, our president, and progressive Democrats. We fought and beat the Tea Party, the oligarchs and massive rich, Karl Rove’s strategy, ALEC, the Koch Brothers, and all those who would tear down democracy and destroy the middle class and the labor movement. Women spoke strongly. Latinos spoke strongly. The LGBT community spoke strongly. And AFRICAN-AMERICANS fought back against the neo-poll taxes and disenfranchisement.

And as always our labor movement provided the President a foundation of support, energy, and strong presence.

The truth for progressives is that we are slowly winning the battle of ideas, future constituents, policies of justice. This election was won with progressive constituencies and a PROGRESSIVE AGENDA.

The President won with huge healthcare reform that we must continue working on and commitment to the middle class and acommitment to workers and unions and collective bargaining.

Republicans wake up this morning scratching their heads realizing they have lost 5 of 6 Presidential popular votes.

Now we must begin to think about how we build on this great victory to build a big struggle on America’s biggest issues – inequality, investment in America and jobs (the agenda Dr. Richard Levins and I laid out in Getting America Back to Work), collective bargaining, honoring workers, respect for every person in America.

We in the labor movement must continue to protect and expand collective bargaining – and to lay the foundation for the opportunity to create a struggle and perhaps a movement that addresses the economic issues of the middle class and THE POOR. We have to think outside our membership and act like the voice of all working families embracing new forms of organizational structures that work when the all or nothing NLRB fails or is irrelevant. We must act with boldness. NOW IS THE TIME TO END 35 YEARS OF WAGE STAGNATION and TO PUSH HISTORY FORWARD.

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Stewart Acuff is America’s best-known and foremost labor organizer. He is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work, coauthored by Dr. Richard Levins.

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