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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Feet on the Street

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, October 28, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Army of Black and Gold - the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) - became the first international organisation to endorse Governor Dean yesterday. According to and article I googled up, IUPAT is known for being a true army on the ground. They are very organised, hard-working, and have quickly built a reputation as a political force to be reckoned with:
"I vowed upon taking office to listen to my members on picket lines, job sites and union halls and what I heard was they liked Governor Dean's message," Williams said at a rally to announce the endorsement.
Dean told about 100 union members that while the campaign's focus has been on the war in Iraq, he plans to stress the issues of health care and jobs in the next few months. "This is a fight for working people in this country," Dean said.

IUPAT has about 3000 members in Iowa who'll soon be hitting the streets in support of Dean, and over 140,000 members nationally. There's also a nice photo gallery from the endorsement event over on the official site.
Niner tipped us last night to this gallery from October 16, in which Dean met with the Hotel & Restaraunt Workers Local 25 in Washington DC. They were actually the first union to endorse Dean, and they are part of the AFL-CIO and represent over 7000 members in the DC metro area.
In addition, the NY Daily News reported last week that Local 1199/SEIU is almost ready to officially endorse Dean (it's President, Michael Rivera, has already done extensive fundraising for Dean). Getting the endorsement of the entire SEIU would be quite a coup for Dean, as the SEIU plans to spend nearly $35 million to beat Bush:
Neither 1199 nor its parent union, the Service Employees International Union, has yet endorsed a Democratic candidate. But after this weekend's conference, it's pretty evident how 1199 members are leaning.
"They mobbed Dean and cheered him wildly from the moment he walked into the back of the hall," said a union shop steward in attendance.
As part of the anti-Bush campaign, union President Dennis Rivera has recruited 1,000 rank-and-file members and staff to fan out across the country beginning next month to get an early start organizing get-out-the-vote operations in more than a dozen "battleground" states.
Those states, including Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio, are considered key for Democrats to regain the White House.
Each of Rivera's 1,000 volunteers will take a one-year leave of absence from his or her regular job - something permitted by many 1199 labor contracts - with the union paying regular salary and travel costs.
"No one in the labor movement has ever tried anything as ambitious as Dennis and 1199 are planning," a top AFL-CIO official said yesterday.
Rivera's union, with nearly 240,000 members in New York State, has been a political powerhouse for years. It boasts an enormous war chest and its members are experienced campaigners. Nearly half of them contribute to the union's political fund through a special monthly voluntary dues checkoff.

Let us also acknowledge the recent endorsement from the California Teacher's Association, which is 335,000 members strong.
"Feet on the street" is what we need right now, and these union members - many of whom are regular caucus-goers - will be a valuable asset in this grassroots movement. Dean's got the backing of nearly 500,000 union members at this time, which nearly doubles the growing Dean Army. Think about it for a minute. We are already halfway towards our goal of having 2 million supporters. Let's keep the momentum going.

update: In the comments of this post, niner suggested that we try and do some outreach to our local SEIU chapters. This SEIU tool can be used to find your local chapter. Also, check out the SEIU's Election 2004 site. It's chock-full of great info, including personal testimonials from SEIU members who've pledged to put their feet on the street next year.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.