In response to political pressure against public-sector unions, the Service Employees International Union is rolling out a nationwide campaign to rally labour support in advance of the 2012 elections, Politico reports. The campaign – called Fight for a Fair Economy – attempts to capitalise on the recent groundswell of union support in Wisconsin and Ohio. The plan will begin with a 17-city blitz to rally the support of non-union members – specifically unemployed, low-income and minority workers – in cities with a strong SEIU presence, like Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee.
The campaign will also concentrate on state-level organising to push back against anti-union legislation in places like New Hampshire and Maine.
The SEIU’s new plan represents a strategic shift for the union’s huge – and historically insular – political operations. Democrats are now worried that the new strategy will detract from the party’s 2012 campaign efforts.
Union officials told Politico they still plan on devoting the same resources to this election that they did in 2008, when the SEIU spent more that $32.5 million to elect President Obama.
Still, the change in strategy reflects an awareness that the political tides have shifted and unions may not wield the power they once did.