Since May, workers with United Steelworkers Locals across Virginia have diligently passed out election-related flyers to their coworkers. Friday, USW Local 8888 did so outside the Newport News Shipyard in Virginia. True to their unwavering commitment to get worker-friendly candidates elected on November 6, Local 8888 members stood outside the shipyard early Friday ready to greet their fellow coworkers and encourage them to vote for former Governor Tim Kaine and Representative Bobby Scott who, respectively, are running for U.S. Senate and Virginia’s Third Congressional District. Both candidates accompanied the shipyard workers on this occasion.
“I’m supporting Tim Kaine because I know his background,” said Gene Magruder, chair of Local 8888’s political action committee. “He has the working man in his blood. His father owned an ironworking shop. He forced Tim Kaine to go down there during the summer months and actually work with those guys to know what it’s like to be a worker- to know the heat and the working conditions. As Governor, he made sure he got up and looked out for working people every day.”
Magruder estimates that on this occasion he and a handful of other volunteers handed out between 800 and 1000 informational leaflets in the hour and a half they stood outside the shipyard’s main gate in the damp Newport News early morning. This scene- passing out leaflets at the gates as the sun slowly rises- is familiar to the 40 workers or so who have been volunteering for the effort twice a month. Friday’s leaflets highlighted Kaine’s plans to create good jobs and prevent the outsourcing of jobs to other countries.
“We just don’t come out and endorse any candidate,” said Kevin Fowler, Local 8888 member and a shipyard employee since 1977. “They’ve got to be approved and shown that they’re on the same side with our working issues. Tim Kaine has proven himself in the past as a governor.”
USW Local 8888 represents around 8,000 hourly employees at the giant Newport News shipyard.