Jansing and Co | March 13, 2012
>>> millions of union workers are getting ready to mobilize for president obama . today he picks up the endorsement of the 12 million strong afl-cio, the nation's largest union . many union leaders are meeting in florida to prepare a turnout blitz pledging to spend $400 million to reelect the president and other democrats around the country. i'm joined now by mary cay henry , president of the seiu, which represents more than 2 million unionized workers nationwide. good to see you again. good morning.
>> good morning, chris.
>> i know you were in wisconsin this weekend at a rally. we have tweet pics of it marking the end of the law that stripped unions of many of their rights. i know that's been a motivated factor for union members. tell me about seiu's plans to mobilize.
>> our members think we need to stand with the 99% and unite across the labor union , across communities, students with our elders, to make the case that this election is about our vision for america . and whether we can be the 99% that stands for the 100%. make sure everybody pays their fair share . gets america back to work, gets our economy going again, and makes sure that everybody has an equal voice in our democracy.
>> there's a new poll out this morning that is not very good for the president. his approval rating plummeted to an all-time low. and gas prices have a lot to do with that. i saw a statistic on your website. the average union member makesless than $50,000 a year. obviously, gas prices are very important for them. do you think this is going to be a big problem for the president? is it going to hurt him among your union members?
>> i don't think it's a problem for the president. i think it's a problem for the country. and that this president has been leading on how to as a nation get the economy going again and make the economy efficient and green. and so for us it's about educating our members, helping them understand who broke the economy, how the president has been part of the solution, not part of the problem. and getting the 1% in this country to pay their fair share through corporate taxes and through a tax system that works for everybody.
>> there's another system that's been in the talk a lot, and that is super pacs, campaign financing. i know your union plans to join others in protesting against the companies that contribute to these super pacs in the effort to embarrass them. but i talked to republicans about this and here's what they say. they say, look, unions are planning to spend around $400 million in this election. how is that different than what we're doing? we are advocating for positions we believe in. what would you say to them?
>> i don't think this election should be about money. i think we need to get the sort of unfedered corporate money that has flooded this knack acy out of the system. and that we need to understand that this is about individual citizens of america being able to exercise their right to vote. and that's why these voting rights , laws that are being passed all across the country in state legislatures , go to the heart of whether we are going to be a democracy for everybody in this country or just people that are rich, wealthy or corporations that don't pay their fair share .
>> let me pick up on that, if you'll hang with us, this fate of the voter id law in texas is going to be decided by a federal court after objections by the obama justice department . let me bring in justice correspondent pete williams , pete, tell us about the basis of the federal government 's objection.
>> first of all, hispanics as a group historically and by the current numbers, traditionally and also currently, disproportionally don't have the right kind of documents, don't have photo ids. the state said they can go get one, but the justice department in its let tore the state yesterday said that 81 texas counties don't have a driver's license office where you grow to get fingerprinted. there's also the cost. finally the justice department said texas failed to supply evidence of a significant amount of in-person voter fraud that would justify the additional requirement to vote. now the proponents of this in the state of texas say you need photo ids to stop fraud. the state attorney general said he's prosecuted already 50 cases and that it's very hard to prove voter fraud without the photo ids. that's why they want them. texas is going to pursue it to true to get it out of federal court .
>> let me go back to mary cay henry , who you concerned are you on the impact of these laws on your members?
>> we are very concerned. i think the thing to note here, chris, is that the billionaire corps brothers finance the exchange council to move these into 33 state legislatures in the past two years. so that 5 million voters have been purged for the roles in states where similar laws have been passed to the one in texas . and it isn't about the fraud. when you think about 50 voters out of the millions of people that vote in this country, this is a smoke screen for trying to suppress a vote that i think the coke brothers are concerned about, where the 99% is for the 100%. that's the real debate we should be having about the voter id laws, not this fraud question. but this question of whether we are going to allow each and every citizen to participate by exercising their right to vote, that people fought and died for in the 1960s in this country.
>> mary kay henry , good to have you on the program.
>> thank you.