The morning after Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee, he didn't speak to Wall Street. Instead he spoke to more than 4,000 SEIU members, guests and delegates in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the SEIU 2008 Convention.
He spoke to us because he's one of us. He's spent his entire adult life standing with working families. And that's why SEIU members made the decision to stand with him in February--because we know he's the only candidate who will win health care for all, the right to organize, and an end to the war in Iraq. You can watch for yourself the highlights from Senator Obama's speech:
Over the past few months, thousands of SEIU members have made millions of phone calls, knocked on more than a million doors, appeared on multiple television ads, and volunteered thousands of hours to make Senator Obama the Democratic nominee.
We now have a historic opportunity. When we elect a pro-worker president and win a pro-worker majority in Congress in November, we'll have an incredible opportunity to change the direction of this country. We'll finally have a progressive majority. And that will mean real change in working people's lives.
But we're not leaving anything to chance. At our convention this week in Puerto Rico, rank-and-file SEIU leaders made an incredibly important decision. During the first 100 days of the 111th Congress, we're going to dedicate 50 percent of our staff and resources to passing priorities for working families like the Employee Free Choice Act and health care for all. That also means making more than 10 million phone calls to members of Congress, engaging 50 percent of our members, and raising $10 million dollars to hold Congress accountable in 2009.
We already started holding politicians accountable when we helped Donna Edwards, a champion for working families, win her congressional primary race in Maryland. Her opponent, Rep. Al Wynn, was putting corporate interests ahead of working families in his District. With that race, SEIU members sent a message to every elected official across the country--stand up for the issues that matter to working families or we'll find someone else who will.
SEIU members are using our unified strength to win justice for all--and we're just getting started.
As Senator Obama said on Thursday morning:
"Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who create it. It's understanding that struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs. Change is a universal health care plan like the one I'm proud I proposed at an SEIU hospital, a plan that guarantees insurance for every American who wants it."
That's the change SEIU members want, that's the change working families need, and that's the change we're going to win in November.