Workers have learned through bitter experience that there is a powerful link between the bread box and the ballot box. Gains won at the bargaining table or through sacrifice on the picket line can be wiped out by unwise actions of local, state or federal legislators as well as political leaders. Today’s wage increase can be erased by tomorrow’s inflation. Today’s job can vanish in tomorrow’s wave of unemployment! Our union’s front line of defense against these attacks on TWU members is COPE.
The Committee on Political Education (COPE) is a political action committee, or PAC. Since TWU is a non-profit; COPE does not and cannot use member dues for political activity. The COPE fund supports candidates who are supportive of TWU members at all levels of government; regardless of party affiliation. If a candidate by action or intention indicates he or she wants to provide a better life for all transport workers and their families, COPE will help that candidate.
There is no limit on how much money TWU members can contribute to COPE; it is strictly voluntary. However, the amount we contribute to a federal candidate is mandated and strictly enforced by the Federal Election Commission.
We know that big business PACs that contribute to candidates have more money than COPE, but we have thousands of TWU members who vote...who can vote that legislator into office as well as out. COPE gives us much more political clout when it is backed up by VOTES!
Getting TWU members to the polls with their knowledge of which candidates support the union and working families, and which candidates will help secure their jobs, depends on how involved their local is in politics. Since more and more decisions are being made by legislators that affect our members’ well-being, union officials have to make sure we elect candidates who are pro-TWU, pro-union and not pro-big business.
What We Do
- COPE helps register union members and their families to vote.
- COPE distributes thousands of congressional voting records and helps educate union members on the issues so they can be informed voters.
- COPE endorses candidates on the basis of their record and/or their program, not on the basis of their party affiliation.
- COPE urges every union member and voting-age member of his or her family to vote!
What We Don't Do
- COPE does not tell anybody how to vote
- COPE does not force union members to contribute to the fund.
- COPE does not use dues money in the form of contributions to endorsed candidates.
- COPE does not make members participate in its programs in their local or their community