The primary purpose of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO Political Education Department is to elect men and women who aggressively strive to pass pro-worker legislation and stand up to attacks on the quality of life of working families. Our efforts are led by our Committee on Political Education (COPE), which includes all members of our executive council and our political and legislative directors. COPE mobilizes and educates union members to vote for pro-worker candidates. Its jurisdiction also includes statewide ballot questions that affect working people.
Through our COPE program:
- We use strict criteria to endorse and help elect pro-labor candidates at every level of office. Candidates must state their positions in a comprehensive questionnaire, and incumbent candidates running for the state legislature must demonstrate a pro-labor voting record of at least 75 percent. Other factors are also considered, such as whether candidates introduce or testify on behalf of pro-labor legislation; make pro-worker remarks during floor debates; and participate in pro-labor activities such as walking picket lines or writing letters of support.
- We place a special emphasis on helping to elect union members to all levels of office. Recognizing that no one represents all of us better than one of us, we offer essential help to union members who run for public office, from campaign training to research and websites to fundraising and voter mobilization.
- We produce communications aimed at educating union members on key issues and candidates’ stances on these issues. These political education programs operate year-round and include compiling voting records for all state legislators and the state congressional delegation. Our efforts really heat up during campaigns, when we produce campaign literature, fact sheets, web pages, and other research-based materials to let members know the issues at stake.
- We mobilize the union vote for pro-worker candidates, and for pro-labor ballot initiatives and local petitions. Our thousands of union activists get out labor’s vote through phone banks, voter registration drives, neighborhood walks, rallies, fundraisers, and other political events.
- We sponsor our monthly COPE Political Roundtable, which brings together political activists from across the state. The roundtable invites interesting guests each month to discuss key issues and share strategies. This is also a great forum for training the next generation of union leaders, as the roundtable actively seeks the involvement of younger members.