SEIU Announces $150 Million National Investment in 2020 Cycle, with Pennsylvania as One of Eight Top Targeted States
Harrisburg, PA – SEIU announced today that it will invest $150 million into a national voter engagement and Get Out the Vote program for the 2020 election cycle. This historic commitment is the largest national voter engagement investment in the union’s history. Pennsylvania is one of eight top targeted states.
The Pennsylvania investment builds on the electoral success that SEIU has achieved since 2014. At that time, Pennsylvania was governed by an anti-worker trifecta on the brink of passing ‘Right to Work’ legislation that would harm working people for generations. Today, the commonwealth is on the cusp of total pro-worker control.
“This election is critically important for undoing the damage the current administration has done to working families and moving forward so that everyone can have a good living wage job, affordable health care and clear air and water for their children,” said Gabe Morgan, President of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council and Vice President of SEIU Local 32BJ. “At every level of government, we must elect pro-worker politicians who will unrig the system that has left working people—whether black, white or brown—fighting for scraps while the rich get richer than they have been in a century.”
In 2020, SEIU’s program is designed to win at the top of the ticket while continuing the march toward total pro-worker power at the state level. In 2018, the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council ran its largest ever member-driven field program, with more than 100 members knocking doors full time in Philadelphia, Allegheny, and Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. In 2020, SEIU will double down on its field program while adding capacity in the Lehigh Valley, Erie and Central Pennsylvania. The program will focus on turning out infrequent voters in the Black, LatinX, and AAPI communities while also building capacity in persuadable ‘Obama/Trump’ geographies. SEIU will also make strategic investments in digital, mail, community partners, and member engagement — while making a major investment in pro-worker candidates at the state legislative level.
The investment in Pennsylvania will advance SEIU members’ commitment toward a Unions for All agenda that will ensure fair wages for working people, delivers quality, affordable healthcare, creates real solutions to fix our cruel immigration system and makes real progress to combat climate change. It is also meant to build on the success of the union’s organizing drives, including opening the door for 20,000 home care workers to join the union, an unprecedented agreement with American Airlines to turn 3,000 poverty jobs at the Philadelphia airport into good union jobs, winning the union for Scranton University food service workers, the strongest state contract for state employees in Pennsylvania, and forcing the state’s largest employer, UPMC, to pay $15 an hour.
In 2020, SEIU members will join together with other unions and not yet union members to demand that elected officials up and down the ballot rewrite the rules to ensure that ALL workers can win their union.
“UPMC is my employer, my insurer, and my healthcare provider — not to mention the largest private sector employer in Pennsylvania,” said Leslie Poston, Administrative Assistant at UPMC Presbyterian. They know how much I make and that I’m thousands of dollars in debt to the hospital I work at. And when we try to speak up and change and demand union rights, UPMC tries to intimidate us into silence. We need all elected officials, from President to city council, to make it easier to form a union and make it harder for corporations to violate our rights.”
“The 2020 election will be a defining choice for our families and our communities. Our strength in Pennsylvania comes from the 80,000 members and organizing leaders across the state who make up SEIU and we’re going to stand together to deliver real change in 2020,” said SEIU’s International President, Mary Kay Henry. “We are investing in the Keystone State because so many aspects of our lives will be at stake, and we need to elect leaders up and down the ballot who will fight for working people. Together, we will mobilize and we will win.”
Public support for unions has hit near record high in recent years. The most recent Gallup poll in Aug. 2019 found public support for unions at 64 percent – nearly the highest level in 50 years – including 82 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents. As public support for unions has grown, worker activism on the job has surged. In 2018, more workers in the U.S. went on strike or participated in work stoppages than any year since 1986, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
SEIU’s 2020 national voter engagement program, which began in January, includes a robust field effort to knock on millions of doors, text voters, and drive a paid media strategy in multiple languages. SEIU plans to engage both union members and non-members.
The locals of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council include SEIU Local 32BJ, SEIU Local 668, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Workers United. These locals represent 80,000 workers statewide – including property service workers, health care workers, public service workers, school employees, laundry and distribution workers.