Post-Ohio, Unions Set Their Sights on…Democrat Andrew Cuomo?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/azipaybarah/5801246549/sizes/m/in/photostream/">azipaybarah</a>/Flickr

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The repeal of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s anti-union law last week marked the biggest political win of 2011 for labor unions. Post-election analyses hailed the result as a sign that organized labor was still a force to be reckoned with and a major player in the 2012 presidential election.

Now, fresh off the Ohio win, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is setting its sights not on, say, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, but an unlikely political opponent: New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. AFSCME, one of the largest public-worker unions in the US, recently made a six-figure ad buy in New York in which it will trumpet the role of public workers in responding to and recovering from Hurricane Irene, which caused $7 billion worth of damage along the East Coast.

AFSCME’s ad buy is a big one, spanning two weeks and TV, radio, and print media outlets. Here’s a TV ad from the New York blitz:

So why target Cuomo, a Democrat, instead of GOP governors, you might ask? Even though he’s a Dem, union officials see Cuomo as on the wrong side of the fight over workers’ rights and benefits. In 2010, Cuomo campaigned on reforming pensions for public workers, sparking a battle with teachers unions. In a February budget speech, Cuomo asked unions for $450 million in concessions to help balance a budget awash in red ink. The unions have fought Cuomo at every turn, bashing him for capping a state property tax that helps fund schools and for mimicking GOP governors’ attacks on public workers.

Think of AFSCME’s New York ad buy as a warning shot: Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, if you try to slash workers’ rights, unions are willing to spend big to push back just as hard.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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