The Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON -- In recent days many Democrats have received a mailer from the Obama campaign entitled "A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security."
Union members who receive the 20-page brochure may notice something
disappointing: Labor unions apparently don't figure anywhere in the
president's grand plan.
It's a basic tenet of American liberalism that labor unions helped
build the nation's middle class, and that falling union membership rates
in recent decades have likely contributed to the middle class's
shrinking share of the economic pie.
Yet the campaign's jobs blueprint, dubbed "the new economic
patriotism," doesn’t make a single mention of unions or the labor
movement. Instead, the brochure hypes the president's plans to boost
American manufacturing, increase domestic energy development and cut
taxes for small businesses. Despite no mention of collective bargaining,
the plan to rebuild the middle class even plays up deficit reduction.
Labor activists may feel doubly slighted by the omission, considering
many of them at the moment are assisting the Obama campaign in its
critical get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of Tuesday's election. Labor
unions by tradition supply much of the ground game that Democratic
politicians rely on.
"This is but one final pre-election insult to a labor movement that
has pulled out all stops to get this administration re-elected," said
Chris Townsend, a spokesman for the United Electrical Workers Union. "I
wonder what the hundreds of thousands of union members doing the
campaign heavy lifting this weekend to re-elect this regime would think
if they knew they did not even exist in the President's economic plan
for the next four years."
One explanation for the omission: The jobs blueprint is a piece of
campaign material. The Obama campaign may have determined that unions
are too polarizing in the minds of swing voters to vocally back in the
last days of the election. The president doesn't speak often about
collective bargaining unless addressing a union crowd.
Yet unions' usefulness to the Obama campaign is undeniable.
The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the nation, is now in the midst of its "final four" push
ahead of the election, in which it hopes to knock on five million doors
and make five million phone calls to voters during the last four days
of the campaign to help the president.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
has been a reliable and high-profile attack dog ripping into Mitt Romney
throughout the election season.
The Service Employees International Union, another dependable ally of
the Obama administration, said yesterday that it plans on knocking on
100,000 doors a day in battleground states in the campaign's last days.
An Obama campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the brochure.