The People Program
Why Political Action
THE DECISIONS that a legislative body makes, whether it is a school board, city council, county board, state legislature, or the U.S. Congress, affect AFSCME members and their families in dramatic ways.
Elected officials vote on budgets that affect employee wages, benefits, working conditions and pensions. They vote on issues of particular concern to AFSCME members, like privatization, and they vote on broader issues of concern to all working families, such as health care reform and workers’ compensation.
That’s why working people need to have allies among elected officials. And that’s why working people need to work to elect these allies.
Unions can never hope to match the hundreds of millions of dollars big business pours into every election. But working people have superior numbers, so they can get out in the streets and work for candidates. And if members pool their cash, unions can help make sure that their endorsed candidates have enough funds to compete against business-backed opponents in the ever-more important media ad wars.
That’s where PEOPLE comes in. AFSCME’s political action committee allows members to make voluntary contributions into a fund that promotes the political program and helps elect candidates friendly to working families.
Through the political process we can be involved in setting important public policy. Through the political process public employees can elect representatives who are sensitive to maintaining vital public services and committed to dealing with workers fairly.
What is PEOPLE?
PEOPLE — Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality—is the legislative and political arm of AFSCME. The PEOPLE program influences public policy and legislation by involving AFSCME members in four related activities:
- Registering AFSCME members to vote and providing them important information on the issues and candidates’ records
- Lobbying elected officials
- Working to elect candidates who will act in the interest of AFSCME members and their families
- Making voluntary contributions that fund these and other union political activities.
PEOPLE is the vehicle for public employees to make their voices heard in the electoral arena, policy debates and legislative deliberations.
PEOPLE’s Endorsement Process
Elected officials can dramatically affect the lives of AFSCME members. That’s why the AFSCME PEOPLE program has established an endorsement process to give members the information they need to make the best choices on Election Day.
The process is democratic — all local unions can participate. By setting up such a process, AFSCME “speaks with one voice.”
Each PEOPLE committee uses a variety of tools to decide who to endorse in a particular race. Voting records, questionnaires, candidate interviews, and information provided by the legislative staff are all considered.
Party affiliation is not a basis for endorsement. The bottom line is the candidate’s support for issues that benefit working families.
During election seasons, the candidates that AFSCME Council 31 recommends will be listed on this website. Check our endorsements, print them out, and take them with you to the polls on election day.
Members have many options for getting involved in the PEOPLE program, including participating in voter registration drives, lobbying on specific issues and bills, working on campaigns-from walking precincts to working phone banks-and making voluntary contributions that fund these and other union political activities.
If you are an AFSCME member and would like to be more involved, send an email to PEOPLE and ask for more information to be sent to you. Please let us know where you live and if there are any particular campaigns or issues you’d like to work on.