Check out this article from Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, and don’t miss your chance to sign up for the 2017 COPE Institute!
No, it’s not to be confused with a recent bewildering “covfefe” tweet, but an overall theme of this years’ COPE Institute, held in the centrally convenient location of Shippensburg, August 18-20. As in the past, we look to tackle the timeliest political education topics.
One of our key speakers will be bestselling author Dave Daley, whose book “Rat F**ked” took aim at the catastrophe of political gerrymandering. By the way, Ratf**king is an American slang term for political sabotage or dirty tricks. Possibly no starker example of election interference is Pennsylvania’s redistricting process.
Every decade, states redraw representative district maps after the decennial census. Redistricting, in theory, allows that all districts are both equally populated and represented. However, redistricting also provides an enormous opportunity for some politicians, looking to manipulate a map to create a more favorable set of districts for themselves and for their party.
Arguably the most distorted legislative map in the country is here in Pennsylvania. This is why Dave Daley focused on our Commonwealth in his book, and exactly why your State Federation sounded the alarms after the last maps were approved. Those maps, in many cases, created shamelessly gerrymandered districts with illogical geographic boundaries that were drawn based-on protecting incumbents and further party interests.
Those new maps, among other programmatic challenges, helped create a 13-to-5 Republican majority in Congress. The General Assembly is tilted to the Republicans 121-82 in the House and a stunning 34-16 in the Senate. It’s important to reiterate our longstanding position, that the PA AFL-CIO is not beholden to any political party. If you’re with us, we’re with you, regardless of Party. However, no Democrat has introduced any legislation attacking your freedom to join a union, collectively bargain with employers or any number of the most mean-spirited attacks on unions in years.
We have to find a way to make our election process in Pennsylvania fair. Big money and special interest groups funding twisted politicians seeking to sabotage elections, may have actually beat the Russians to it in Pennsylvania. They did it in plain sight and, with the laws we have in place today.
Numerous electoral opportunities are before us between now and 2020. Losing any more seats can set us back for a generation. So failure is not an option.
How we fight back, educate, and listen to our members, is why we are urging every Local Union and CLC to send representatives to this year’s Institute. For any last-minute reservations, call my office at 717-231-2850, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.