AFL-CIO Mail Campaign: 'Things Are Bad'

FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2010, file photo President Barack Obama is introduced by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka before he sp
FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2010, file photo President Barack Obama is introduced by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka before he spoke about jobs and the economy at the AFL-CIO Executive Council in Washington. AFL-CIO leaders hope to smooth tensions at their executive council's annual winter meeting that starts Monday, March 12, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. Unions may be united in working to re-elect Obama, but their leaders also are trying to repair bitter divisions over his rejection of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

WASHINGTON -- The nation's largest union federation is beginning a massive direct-mail campaign designed to encourage union members to vote in the November elections.

In total, the AFL-CIO is set to blast out 1.5 million pieces of mail touching on 31 congressional races, six Senate races, two gubernatorial races, and one ballot initiative. It is a big investment for the union federation, which has focused its election efforts far more on direct contact with members than television ads.

The themes in the mailers are mixed. Only a few include references to President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney. All of the mailers are jobs-focused and emphasize policies to help the middle class, protect Medicare, and support education.

And on occasion, they paint a dim portrait of the current economy -- in more depressed terms than the president and his campaign would use –- with warnings that Romney would take send it into a free-fall.

"We know things are bad," reads an AFL-CIO mailer targeting House races. "We just can't let them get worse."

The message reflects the union federation's belief that workers don't necessarily want to be told that their personal circumstances are improving, even if the broader economic picture is looking brighter. It also underscores the belief that economic fear can still be used as a political motivator to get out the working class vote.

The pieces will land in mailboxes in Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire, Washington and Wisconsin as part of the Senate and gubernatorial races in those states. They will also be distributed in Michigan as part of a ballot initiative on collective bargaining. Almost all recipients of the mailers will be union members, though the gubernatorial campaign mailers will be distributed to the general public.



Polls: Obama vs. Romney