At this point in the No on 8 campaign, labor unions have donated close to $3 million dollars to defeat this unjust and unfair proposition that is a smack in the face to all working people.
From a labor perspective, the inability of LGBT people to access the institution of marriage creates a de facto two-tier pay system, where those who can marry receive more benefits than those who cannot.
But labor's support for the defeat of Proposition 8 goes well beyond simply money.
There are over 2.1 million union members in the state of California.
This summer, the California Labor Federation passed a resolution drafted by Pride At Work leaders and activists and submitted by Pride At Work Co-President, T. Santora, that directly called on the California labor movement to vociferously oppose Prop 8. The resolution went beyond boilerplate opposition language. It also mandated that the labor federation include No on Proposition 8 information in all of its voter education materials, mailers, and slate cards, like the one above.
What is a slate card?
Well, each weekend during this election season, thousands of union members, volunteers, staff, and allies are walking precincts up and down California talking to hundreds of thousands of households, and leaving with each household, whether they are home or not, a slate card like the one above.
Millions of full page slate cards in a similar format have reached union households explicitly stating that your labor union wants you to vote No on 8.
As many Californians will tell you, the barrage of Propositions voters face in the California elections means many voters have no clue what they're actually voting on.
Union leaders hear over and over again from members who take these little pocket sized slate cards in the ballot box, and use it as their guide.
Just think if all of those union slate cards told members to vote Yes on 8, instead of No. Our community would lose one of the few direct education avenues that we have in California.
The power of labor to not only communicate to union members, over and over again; on the phone, in person, at work sites, and with complex labor to labor neighborhood walks, gives the No on 8 side a huge grassroots advantage that our Yes on 8 adversaries do not have within their reach.
It is no surprise that Barack Obama's "neighbor to neighbor" phenomenal grassroots operations is based directly on the AFL-CIO and Change To Win's "labor to labor" program that has brought unprecedented numbers of working class voters to the polls.
When we win next week (knock on wood), I hope one of the lessons our community takes away from this is how important labor is to winning a campaign.
Let's hope that when the labor community needs the help of the LGBT community to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, that our community will pay labor back, with interest.