SEIU uncorks field drive in 8 battlegrounds

The Service Employees International Union, fastest growing labor organization in the nation, Tuesday launched what officials are calling the union’s biggest field drive to mobilize votes for President Obama and other Democrats in eight battleground states.

Organizers plan 13 million phone-bank calls, 3 million door knocks, and at least 1 million face-to-face sales pitches, targeting African American, Latino and young voters, three demographic mainstays of the coalition that elected Obama in 2008. The efforts will be concentrated in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The union will spend at least as much as the $85 million it expended four years ago on the voter-contact and GOTV plan, said Brandon Davis, SEIU national political director.

"The extreme, far-right agenda to suppress votes, scapegoat public workers, deny women access to health care, refuse to consider a fair pathway to citizenship, and otherwise drown out the voices of working people is not consistent with the nation’s core values,” Davis said. “The best way to ensure that all workers are valued and respected and that our communities and families thrive is to communicate what’s at stake and get out the vote.”

He said that the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, which allowed corporate and labor union money to be spent directly on candidate advocacy, will allow SEIU to talk to voters who are not members as well as those who are.

Starting last week, SEIU launched a $4 million Spanish-language TV ad buy in Colorado, Florida and Nevada. The union represents workers in the healthcare, government and property services sectors.