October 31, 2008

In Final 72-Hour Push, SEIU Members Get Out The Vote for Barack Obama and Other Working Family Candidates Across the Country

Mark McCullough

WASHINGTON, DC--In the final 72-hours of this campaign, more than 100,000 nurses, janitors and other volunteers across the country are joining 4,000 SEIU members, local and International staff who've taken extended time off the job to bring home victory for Barack Obama, Joe Biden and other candidates promising the change working families need.

SEIU's major GOTV operations are microtargeting key precincts and swing voters, as well as union households, in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Through October 30, SEIU's members have:

  • Knocked on 1,878,421 doors.

  • Made 4,405,136 phone calls.

  • Sent 2,562,689 pieces of mail.

  • Registered 85,914 voters.

  • Helped more 10,982 people vote early.

  • Distributed 52,005 workplace flyers.

  • Made workers' voices heard by investing $13 million in independent expenditure ads that have run more than 10,000 times

  • Election protection work in Ohio; Lake County, Indiana; Florida; Colorado; Virginia and other places made sure that the voices of working people were not silenced and that every vote would count and be counted in this election.

  • Held more than 600 events across the country to ensure voters knew which candidates stood on the side of Americans who wake up and earn a paycheck every day.

"In these final 72-hours, SEIU members all around this country are doing their part to put America on a new path," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. "SEIU members have knocked on millions of doors and made millions of phone calls to carry our candidates across the finish line. By electing leaders who will help us achieve quality, affordable health care for everyone; economic fairness; good jobs that can support a family and the freedom to form unions without intimidation, together we will create new American Dream."

Credited by publications like Congressional Quarterly with giving Sen. Obama an enormous advantage in this race , SEIU's members will step up their extraordinary electoral effort more than ever before to elect pro-working family candidates in this final weekend. For example, another 2,500 members from mid-Atlantic locals are traveling across the country to join their Change to Win brothers and sisters for rallies calling on candidates to rebuild the middle class in Pennsylvania while another 800 travel to Ohio and more than 260 will be in Virginia.

No single organization has done more than SEIU to make sure that Barack Obama is our next president. SEIU endorsed Barack Obama in February--after previously endorsing him in his Illinois State Senate and his US Senate campaigns--because he has always been a champion for working families.

Members made health care a defining issue by requiring candidates in the Presidential primaries to prepare a health care plan in order to earn our endorsement. One day after Sen. John McCain released his plan last April, SEIU took to the airwaves to let voters know the problems with his health care proposals. SEIU made sure voters understood key differences between the candidates on this critical issue through public events, mailings, TV ads, the Road to American Healthcare bus tour through swing states, an educational DVD for seniors and member-to-member conversations.

To arrange an opportunity to talk to SEIU members and cover their election efforts, please contact SEIU at 202-730-7283.

October 22, 2008

Lisa Hubbard
California SEIU Members Head to Nevada to Mobilize Voters for Obama

-Hundreds of SEIU Members from Los Angeles and Bay Area to Spend This Weekend Talking to Reno and Las Vegas Voters-

LAS VEGAS, NV--This weekend, with only 11 days remaining before voters head to the polls, hundreds of SEIU members from across California will put down their brooms, badges, briefcases, and blood pressure cuffs and pick up clipboards and walk lists as they head to Nevada to mobilize voters for Barack Obama.

Four busloads of SEIU members will head from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and from San Francisco to Reno, where they will talk to voters about healthcare, the economy, retirement security, and other issues of top concern to America's working families..

The 400 California-based SEIU members traveling to Nevada this weekend work in a wide range of professions, and hail from SEIU Locals 1000, 1021, 521, 1877, 721, 99, 221, 121RN, United Healthcare Workers-West, and 6434, United Long-Term Care Workers.

"Every day I work with families that are suffering from the failed policies of the Bush administration. And while I can't give a new house to help a family that has foreclosed on theirs, and I can't make the insurance companies cover a sick child, I can do my part to make sure that come January, the White House and Congress are being run by people who understand and care about the needs of working families," said Traecy Jackson, a social worker with SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles. "This election is just too important to sit it out, or assume that somebody else will do it."

Traecy is just one of 100,000 nurses, janitors, child care providers, and other members from SEIU across the nation volunteering after work and on weekends to elect Barack Obama and a pro-working family Congress on November 4th. In addition to the volunteers, more than 3,000 SEIU members, leaders, and staff are taking time away from their jobs to work full-time on the election. SEIU members have committed more than $85 million to election efforts around the country.

October 6, 2008

SEIU Members Make Health Care Deciding Issue For Uncommitted Voters

New Ad, Field Blitz Targets Undecided Voters With Information On Candidates' Health Care Plans

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, SEIU announced a new, multi-state television and field campaign aimed at targeting undecided voters in the final weeks of the presidential election with information on the difference between the Obama and McCain health care plans.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that while voters prefer Barack Obama's health care plan to John McCain's, many voters - particularly independents and seniors - do not have a clear understanding of the differences between the two proposals.  SEIU's new effort - which incorporates advertising, mail, phone calls, and door-to-door canvassing - aims at providing undecided voters with detailed information about the candidates' health care plans.

Beginning Monday, SEIU will begin airing a new television ad, titled "Worried Sick," in two battleground states.  The ad underscores the deep concerns working families have about health care - and how John McCain's health care plan would make a bad problem worse by taxing health benefits and denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.  In addition to the ad, SEIU is engaging voters directly in battleground states across the country:

§         SEIU members are knocking on doors and sharing a new, side-by-side comparison of the Obama and McCain health care proposals with voters;

§         SEIU's Americans for Health Care campaign is distributing a side-by-side comparison to voters; and

§         Nurses, home care aides, and other SEIU healthcare workers are using mail, phone calls, and internet technology to reach one million union and non-union healthcare workers with information about the candidates' plans.

"With the economy continuing to sour, more and more voters are taking a good, hard look at what how the policy proposals offered by Barack Obama and John McCain are going to affect their families' bottom line," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.  "Health care is a critical part of that equation, and SEIU members are focusing all of their energy to make sure that in these final weeks of the election, voters have the facts about where the candidates stand on health care."

Over the past year and a half, SEIU members have made health care a central issue in the presidential election:

§         In March, 2007, SEIU and the Center for American Progress Action Fund hosted the first presidential forum focused on health care;

§         In August, 2007, Barack Obama spent the day working alongside home care worker Pauline Beck as part of SEIU's "walk a day in my shoes" program;

§         In April, 2008, SEIU launched its first ad of the general election, featuring nurses and other healthcare workers expressing their concerns about John McCain's health care proposals;

§         For four months, SEIU's Road to American Health Care bus tour traveled 8500 miles, holding events in 17 states that featured real people struggling to keep up with rising health care costs;

§         SEIU's report, "Making a Bad Problem Worse," details how John McCain's health care proposal would make it harder for average families to get quality, affordable health coverage;

§         SEIU has targeted key Senate and House races with mail, phone calls, and earned and paid media - including television ads - in order to help elect a pro-health care majority in Congress;

§         SEIU has helped host dozens of press conferences highlighting how McCain's health care plan would impact key groups, such as women and veterans, and helped release a Center for American Progress state-by-state analysis of McCain's proposal.

October 2, 2008

SEIU Members Pound the Pavement For Votes, Have Registered Over 70,000 New Voters

Washington, DC - With voter registration deadlines approaching in many states, SEIU members are pounding the pavement, working the phones, and pulling out all the stops to help register tens of thousands of new voters - and make sure they get out to vote on November 4th for Barack Obama and a pro-working family Congress.

"In many states, this election could be decided by just thousands, even hundreds of votes," said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.  "SEIU members are making sure that everyone who can vote is registered, and everyone who is registered gets to the polls on Election Day.  We're leaving no stone unturned."

Over 1,000 SEIU members are working full time on the election, and over 100,000 nurses, janitors, child care providers, and other workers are volunteering after work and on weekends to win on Election Day.  Since August, these members have registered over 70,000 new voters, with more to come before registration deadlines close in the coming weeks.

"This has changed who I am," said Monique Riddick, a professional growth consultant and SEIU member who has been volunteering her time on the weekends to knock on doors in Virginia. 

Recently, Monique registered a 73 year-old woman and a 23 year old - neither of whom had ever voted before, but who were ready to vote for change in November.  Monique's own 18 year-old son, who had previously decided against voting, changed his mind when his mother told him of an 18 year-old man she met in Norfolk who had just enlisted in the Navy. He was proud to be serving his country and was thrilled to have the opportunity to vote for Obama before he heads overseas. After hearing this story, Monique's son registered to vote.

Beginning this week, Monique and her fellow SEIU members will get a new influx of support, as seventy-five percent of SEIU's International staff hits the ground in battleground state to help register voters, talk to fellow union members, recruit volunteers, and educate voters about what's at stake for working families in the upcoming election.

September 24, 2008
Nurses, Healthcare Workers Launch Massive Drive to Inform 1 Million Caregivers in Key States on Obama and McCain Healthcare Plans

Unique volunteer effort by union and nonunion caregivers blends online phone-bank technology and in-person outreach

With women voters poised to play a pivotal role in the presidential election, a unique project of SEIU Healthcare will reach at least 1 million healthcare employees--a largely female workforce --through worker-to-worker communication on the candidates' views on healthcare issues.

The outreach will focus on high-performing voters who are primarily RNs, LPNs, and other licensed caregivers who work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities in 13 battleground states.

Independent polling conducted for the effort has shown that 84 percent of the workers are women and that information on Barack Obama's and John McCain's healthcare records and plans produced an 18-point increase in support for Senator Obama.

"People are struggling in this economy already, and then you find out that John McCain will tax your health benefits and put your current coverage at risk," said Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union. "It's an eye-opener. The facts aren't out there broadly, so we're fixing that."

SEIU Healthcare's movement to unite caregivers for healthcare reform--called Healthcare United ( brought thousands of healthcare workers nationwide who are not members of the union together with current members to volunteer in the huge voter education effort over the next few weeks.

Outreach is focused in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Workers are using a variety of technologies and means--including the ability to make calls from home using the web site--to spread information drawn from a Healthcare United candidate comparison on healthcare issues. The campaign will also educate and inform caregivers through house parties, door-to-door canvassing, community forums, and a national online campaign.

"I'm finding that a lot of nurses like me are really interested to learn that Senator Obama has a record on helping to improve nurse staffing in hospitals," said Merna Brostoff, RN of Healthcare United in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "When you work in healthcare every day, this information is critical to evaluating the candidates."

To interview a healthcare worker who is active in the campaign in your area, please contact Lynda Tran at Healthcare United's candidate comparison is available at

September 20, 2008
Michelle Obama Rallies SEIU Staff Heading to Battleground States

Michelle Obama addressed SEIU staff by telephone yesterday, as they prepared to head to Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, and other battleground states to make the difference for Obama. Seventy-five percent of SEIU's International staff will hit the ground starting next week, joining more than 1,000 members taking time off their jobs and 100,000 nurses, janitors, child care providers, and other workers volunteering after work and on weekends to win on Election Day.  Staff and members alike will participate in voter registration, talk to fellow union members, recruit volunteers, and educate voters about what's at stake for working families in the upcoming election.

Obama thanked the staff for their commitment to winning in November and their work everyday to ensure that working families have access to affordable healthcare and a chance at the American Dream.

"In states where a few thousand votes will make the difference, the hundreds of SEIU staffers heading out to hit the doors, make calls, and get voters to the polls will tip the balance for Obama on Election Day," said Anna Burger, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer.

SEIU members are already committing record amounts of resources on this election--spending $85 million and breaking all past records on member involvement to elect Barack Obama and a pro-working family majority in Congress.