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Johnson, Trumka: Working families win!

Following is a statement by Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, regarding the 2012 election results:

(Nov. 7) — Voters on election night repudiated the Republican vision of feeding the rich to grow the economy and austerity for the rest of us by re-electing Barack Obama to a second term as President. With at least a one seat pick-up by Democrats in the U.S. Senate, and a huge qualitative pick-up in Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, we are in a much stronger position to avoid a “grand bargain” over Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — more on this in a moment.

Washington’s Congressional delegation just got stronger with the addition of three new labor champions: Suzan DelBene in CD 1, Derek Kilmer in CD 6, and Denny Heck in CD 10. Labor’s good friends Jim McDermott CD 7, Rick Larsen CD 2, and Adam Smith CD 9 also won handily.

While it is still to early to call some critical races in our state, if trends continue, Jay Inslee, who never stopped talking about job creation and his support for collective bargaining, will be our next Governor. Bob Ferguson, labor’s champion to protect consumer and workers’ rights, had a nearly 6-point lead last night and should emerge as the winner.

A Jay Inslee victory is a vote for rebuilding the middle and working classes through job creation and a repudiation of privatization and contracting out schemes.

We should have a much better sense of state legislative races after election results are reported later today. However, so far it looks like we have picked up a Senate seat with Mark Mullet in LD 5 and a couple of House seats with Dawn Morrell in LD 25 and Roger Freeman in LD 30. Still too close to call are the races for Tim Probst LD 17, Mary Margaret Haugen LD 10, Bud Sizemore LD 47, Marcia Stonier LD 17, Roger Flygare LD 30, Kathy Haigh LD 35, and Linda Ring Erickson LD 35.

Labor’s endorsed candidate for the Supreme Court Sheryl Gordon McCloud also won!

We have a lot of work in front of us to shore up our friends in Congress to make sure that they hold the line on no tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and that no “grand bargain” is made that cuts Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. (Read more about this.) Voters want President Obama and the U.S. Senate to move forward with a jobs agenda and to create fairness in the tax system. It is time for Republican leadership in the U.S. House to stop creating ideological and practical gridlock and work with Democrats to create a sense of shared prosperity in the United States.

We will keep you informed of election results as they come in. (Click here to see the key election results right here at The Stand.)

In the meantime, I want to thank Karen Deal, WSLC Political Director, and Lori Province, WSLC Field Mobilization Director, for leading the best Labor Neighbor program we have ever launched, and the 34 release staff from various unions that mobilized the labor movement in Washington State to complete more than 750,000 calls, make more than 30,000 house visits, drop more than 100,000 pieces of worksite literature, and mail more than a half million pieces of literature . Labor Neighbor 2012 had more than 4,500 labor and community volunteers!

Thank you for making the difference!

Following is a statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

(Nov. 7) — Last night, working families across the country celebrated the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — and breathed a sigh of relief that our country will move forward on the path of sanity and shared prosperity. Nothing about the last four years has been easy, from the Great Recession to Hurricane Sandy, from unrelenting partisan obstruction by Republicans to the greatest onslaught of negative ads ever unleashed against an American president.

Throughout the tumult, President Obama and Vice President Biden have been steadfast allies of working men and women and the values we cherish, focused on repairing the economy, rebuilding the ladder to the middle class and investing in our shared future. That’s why workers and their unions made a historic effort on their behalf, bringing home the vote for the president from Nevada to Ohio, from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.

With “Osama dead and GM alive” and the economy beginning to pick up steam, we are ready to work together with the president and all willing parties to win greater equality and economic opportunity for all — starting with ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!