Why do Labor Union Leaders fight so hard to engage its membership in politics? They push for us to register and get out to vote. Bombard us with fliers on the job sites with more mailings at home. There always Inviting “Labor Friendly” politicians to our meeting halls to talk to us about how much they care, and that they have a dad, brother or uncle in the Union somewhere, and that’s why you should vote for them. They knock on our doors, send Robo-calls asking and asking repeatedly for us to go out and support labor friendly candidates. Why? Brothers I think the answer is simple and deserves your consideration before going to the polls.


Going to Union meetings as an apprentice it didn’t take long for me to start hearing the words Democrat and Republican. It came up more often than not. Either the Business Manager, Officer or Member, would report on a piece of legislation that was going to help or hurt the Union’s. This spilled out on to the job sites at times, generating discussion at the lunch table over who is on our side and who is not. This is where I first heard the terms “Vote your wallet” and “If you carry a bucket you should vote Democrat” Being a bit of a loud mouth and concerned about my Union brothers and sisters, I jumped into the fight. Why, you may ask? It’s simple. Because everything we fight for on the job and at the bargain table can be taken from us by our politicians. The people we elect.


One of the biggest political battel facing the labor movement today is so called "Right to Work" legislation. Or as we call it "Right to Work for less". This is a piece of anti-union legislation that has tricked 26 states into signing it into law. Its play on word gathers support with ease. “Right to work” who wouldn’t be in favor of that? The truth is this anti-union legislation is designed to do one thing. Weaken the Labor Unions. And it does just that.


The Right to work movement started in 1955 as a way to allow workers to refuse to join a union without having to worry about losing their jobs.  While this is may sound good to freeloaders, the movement itself has caused workers to actually make less. It also weakens jobsite safety. According to Ohio ACT, “Right to work” (FOR LESS) undermine safety on construction job sites, putting your life at danger. The fatality rate for the construction industry fatalities is 40% higher in states with “Right to Work’ laws. What’s the connection between a member not wanting to pay his or her fair share and someone getting hurt on the job site? The weaker the labor movement, the weaker the laws that protect workers. I always thought it was our duty as Union Members to fight hard for safer working conditions, not allow a hand full of freeloaders, the chamber of commerce, or poor legislators to push laws that tear down conditions for all.


 At the end of the day politics and some of our politicians have gotten ugly. At times it’s been hard to determine whose side they are on. I have supported politicians on both side of the table because I care about one issue more than anything else. The Union movement and what it has done for this country. A strong middle class, safer working conditions, better benefits including health Insurance and pension funds are why I go to the polls. Supporting politicians that support us deserves our time and attention.


 This year you will be asked by your Union leaders to get involved, and we will tell you that this is the most important election in the history of the labor movement. This is not a lie. All elections are the most important election of the labor movement. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines so educate yourself, your family, your friend about the issues and who is on the side of labor, and get out to vote.




Troy Ferrell

Business Manager

IBEW Local Union 972




IBEW 972

Office: (740) 373-5054
Fax: (740) 373-7501

50 Sandhill Rd.
Reno, OH 45773