Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Steelworkers, unionists hit the streets

Labor’s muscle supports Obama campaign in Pennsylvania
By Ben Sears
PHILADELPHIA--The Obama campaign got a big welcome in neighborhoods here from one end of the city to the other Oct. 11, and the labor movement put its muscle behind the effort. Hundreds of trade unionists and their family members and supporters turned out in the city and suburbs as Senator Obama spent the day going from one rally to the next.
At a local steelworkers’ union hall in north Philadelphia, United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard spoke to a crowd of over 150 activists before they headed out for their morning door-to-door walks.
Gerard told the spirited union crowd that the “McCain straight talk express is going off a cliff” as, he pointed out, the nation saw a ninth straight month of net job losses. He continued, “We have socialism for the big banks and capitalism for the rest of us … The same people who tell us we can’t have government run health care are the ones who went with their hands out for a bail out for the big banks.”
Addressing the issue of racism directly, Gerard told the racially diverse crowd, “It’s hard to imagine that you would sacrifice the future of your country, your kids and your grandkids over the color of a man’s skin. In union halls around the country, we see people of all races and backgrounds. We are the face of America.”

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