SEATTLE (May 13, 2016) — It’s not too late to register for the COPE (Committee on Political Education) Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, next Saturday, May 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Machinists 751 Hall, 9125 15th Pl. S. in Seattle. The WSLC’s 600-plus affiliated unions received their convention calls several weeks ago notifying them of the number of delegates and alternates they can send.
It is at this convention that delegates representing unions from across the state will gather to vote on WSLC endorsements for congressional, statewide, state legislative and judicial candidates, plus state ballot measures. By WSLC Constitution, the council’s endorsements require a two-thirds majority vote.
Make sure your union is represented! If you are interested in representing your union as a delegate or alternate at the WSLC COPE Convention, contact your local union for more information. (The WSLC is aware that this is the same day as the Washington State Democrats’ Congressional District Caucuses and that, for some reason, interest in these caucuses is particularly high this year. Just make sure somebody from your union can be at the COPE Convention to represent your interests.)
Unlike corporations and business groups, organized labor has an open and democratic process by which candidates and ballot measures earn union support, and rank-and-file members are encouraged to participate. Candidates seeking endorsement participate in a rigorous process that includes questionnaires and interviews with local unions and regional Central Labor Councils. Those regional union organizations then make recommendations for the state convention to consider and vote upon on May 21.
Also unlike corporations and industry groups — which outspend unions about 15-to-1 on politics — labor’s support doesn’t just come in the form of a check. It comes in the form of volunteers who do household walks, worksite leafleting, and make personal (not automated) phone calls to other voters. Plus, it includes direct mail and other forms of political outreach intended to explain why endorsed candidates and ballot measures have earned labor’s support.
In addition to the May 21 COPE Convention, delegates will also consider endorsements at the WSLC’s 2016 Constitutional Convention will be July 19-21 at the Coast Wenatchee Hotel and Convention Center.
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State. A state federation of the AFL-CIO, the WSLC is a voluntary non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and strengthening the rights and conditions of working people and their families. There are currently more than 600 local unions affiliated with the WSLC, representing more than 400,000 rank-and-file union members working in our state.