Union members answer the question “Why vote for the Dem ticket?” Skip to content

Union members answer the question “Why vote for the Dem ticket?”

“If you want to live on minimum wage, vote the other way.”

4 min read

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed this year’s Democratic ticket because they all strongly support organized labor, not because of the party label.

Our candidates are Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, State Rep. Pamela Stephenson for attorney general, Buddy Wheatley for secretary of state, Michael Bowman for treasurer, Kim Reeder for auditor, and Sierra Enlow for agriculture commissioner.

So at Friday’s annual Danny Ross West Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council Labor Luncheon, I chose at random 17 union attendees, active and retired, and asked them the same question:

If a union member asked you, “why should I vote for the Democratic ticket,” how would you respond?

The answers

The Republicans in this election have committed themselves to eliminating pensions for state employees. They’re a big part of the driving effort that has eliminated dues deductions for public sector workers. They’ve obliterated workers rights as far as unemployment, workers comp. To ensure our future we need to elect people that are going to be friendly to our issues.”

– Chad Conley, United Steelworkers District 8 president,
Ashland Area Labor Council, member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board

They’re the only party in my years of experience that has ever really stood up and supported the working families in this state, especially the unions, but all working people. That’s the reason I’m always for the Democratic ticket.”

– Al Cunningham, business representative for Council 91
of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

All you’ve got to do is look at the growth. Unemployment is lower than it’s ever been in [Kentucky] history. We’ve got a surplus in the rainy day fund that we’ve never had, and we’ve got a surplus in the budget. If that’s not a good reason, you’re not listening."

– Howard “Bubba” Dawes, International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers retiree and
recording secretary, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council

This is the best ticket we’ve had in a long time. Nobody has done a better job for Kentucky families than Andy Beshear. This administration has been hands-on from day one. Gov. Beshear has done an absolutely tremendous job the way he handled the tornadoes in western Kentucky and the flooding in eastern Kentucky and the pandemic. That speaks volumes about the kind of man he is.

– Steve Earle, United Mine Workers of America,
International District 12 vice president

The unions and the Democrats work for the people, not for themselves.

– Bonnie Edwards, International Ladies’
Garment Workers Union retiree

They are labor friendly; they are looking out for our best interests.

– Patty Grimm, Teamsters Local 236

Jobs. Democrats have always supported jobs – union labor, our health care and everything else that is always in jeopardy. We need to have a union job and fight for these things and make sure this next generation can have the same benefits we have.

– Benny Heady, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 retiree

It’s easy. It’s easy to vote for someone that has your best interests at heart. We’ve never in my lifetime had a governor that’s been as labor-friendly – or a president, for that matter. We’ve got the most labor-friendly president that we’ve ever had. The protections that they have afforded us we’ve never seen before. So to me it’s a very easy decision.

– Kyle Henderson, special representative for The United Association
of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry
of the United States and Canada (UA)

The Democratic ticket — those running for office — are the only ones that support the working men and women of this state.

– Jim Key, a member of USW Local 500,
Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council COPE director,
member Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board

You have no choice if you are a working person; you’ve got to vote for Andy Beshear and the Democratic candidates because they stand for working people, and our opponents there in Frankfort are fighting everything we stand for: turning back the clock on unemployment insurance, workers comp, collective bargaining rights, you name it. Thanks to Andy Beshear, at least we have a backstop that we need. Without him, we would have no chance to stop our opponents from running right over working people.

– Bill Londrigan, Elevator Constructors Local 20,
president Kentucky State AFL-CIO

The Democratic ticket is going to make sure that the working people are going to be taken care of, have what they need, and that all of our taxpayer dollars go where they are supposed to go.

– Philip Orr, business agent, Local 782,
and president of the West Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council

It’s pretty simple. It’s the only ticket that’s labor-friendly.

– Dusty Owens, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 816,
secretary-treasurer, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council

The things that Gov. Beshear and his team have done for labor — and not just union labor, but all labor in the state of Kentucky — is phenomenal; it’s things we haven’t seen in a long, long time, and it’s not just about what’s happening right now, but where they’re pushing this state in the future. They are setting us up for some really good things. They have brought tons of new jobs, new industry to this state. They have also stood up for the working people and said, ‘Hey, we want these jobs, but we want them to be good paying jobs.’

– Chad Rennison, business manager IBEW Local 816,
delegate Western Kentucky Area Council

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, our governor has done everything he could possibly do. Just look at his record – a record of low unemployment, jobs created all over the state. He has done a wonderful job for the state, and he’s going to keep on doing a great job, and that’s why all Democrats need to get out there this voting season and vote him back in. Just look at his record. Compare it to his opponent. His opponent has no record, but we have a record to show and Gov. Beshear is going to show it.

– Jerry Sykes, United Auto Workers retiree

I support the Democratic ticket because they have the same labor values that we have. They support our labor issues, meaning safety in the workplace, good wages, benefits, health care, and collective bargaining.

– Kevin Walton, USW Local 9443, Tri-County Council
of Labor COPE director, member State AFL-CIO Executive Board

They support us, so we support them.

– Jeff Wiggins, USW Local 9447, secretary-treasurer Kentucky State AFL-CIO

It’s pretty simple. It’s the only ticket that’s labor-friendly.

– Dusty Owens, IBEW Local 816, secretary-treasurer, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council

If you want to live on minimum wage, vote the other way.

– Jimmy Morphew, Ironworkers Local 782 retiree


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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY