By ALFREDO ALVARADO
On Election Day, volunteers packed the phone bank room at District Council 37 headquarters where they made calls to members reminding them to get to the polls before they close at 9 p.m.
“We started at 9:30 a.m. and will go until around 6 p.m.,” said Savion Gainer, a Political Aide from the DC 37 Political Action and Legislation Dept.
Since the early morning on Nov. 8, Gainer was busy helping new volunteers with their scripts and adjusting their headsets.
Some volunteers, like Dorothy Lorenzo, voted early so they would not have to rush back home to vote.
Lorenzo was in Florida last month and saw a lot of support for Donald Trump around Tampa and Clearwater.
“People that are not doing well think he’s going to make them rich,” she said. “What he’s going to do is come after their Social Security and repeal their health care.”
Family Assistant and Local 372 member Vivian Rosario will be voting after she gets out of work. Rosario plans to take her parents with her to vote in East Harlem.
“That’s a family tradition of ours,” Rosario said. “We’ve been doing it since I was around 21 years old. And this year it’s more important than ever.”
Former Library Maintainer and Local 374 retiree Jacob Azeke, who is a former vice president of the DC 37 Retirees Association, will also be voting later in the afternoon, even though he wanted to vote early.
“I was there in the morning, but the line was very long,” he said of his polling site at PS 208 in Harlem. “But that’s a good sign.”
Azeke was one of the many volunteers who made the weekend trip to Philadelphia recently to go door-to-door on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
On Election Day, activists were also busy getting out the vote in Mineola and Elmont in Nassau County to support state Senate candidates Kemp Hannon, Adam Haber and Todd Kaminsky.
DC 37’s get-out-the vote work is part of a nationwide political mobilization orchestrated by its national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to support Clinton and other pro-labor candidates.
“AFSCME members are playing a critical role in this election, just like we do for our communities every day,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in an Election Day message to members. “And if we all get out and vote, I guarantee we’ll elect leaders who respect our work and support our families.”
“Our family, friends and neighbors will ask, ‘What did you do to stop Trump?'” said Jeremy John, DC 37’s political director, in his get-out-to vote message to members. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
“Unions are the engine behind Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “I’m proud of our volunteers who are fighting for working families in this historic election, perhaps the most important one of our lifetime.”