Union groups officially launched a new political action committee Thursday that will be targeting Latino-heavy areas in an attempt to put pro-labor Democrats in key congressional seats in the 2012 election.
The American Worker super PAC will ply efforts in about two dozen elections with money, mostly those in which Latino voters are expected to play a major role, executive director Chuck Rocha told the Huffington Post. The PAC plans to spend $1 million each in individual races in Florida, Texas, California, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona, among other states:
Rocha said the committee will work with unions and workers' groups to support only the Democrats they deem pro-labor and pro-worker. The group will not devote resources to any candidate who supports the pending trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, for instance, or to any candidate who supports privatization or overhaul of Social Security.
Back in August when plans for the super PAC were first announced, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the PAC would be an "independent advocacy arm" to "build the power of America's silent majority."
“It will allow us to have year-round advocacy,” Trumka told The Hill.
In a promotional video for the PAC, Rocha said the primary goal is the creation of American jobs, charging that is something "Republicans in Congress lack the ability to tackle...it's not even on their agenda."
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Explaining the focus on Latino voters, Rocha called them the "most important demographic this election cycle," but noted that immigration issues would not be the PAC's focus.
"In the Latino community, Latinos don't walk around every day worrying about immigration policy," he said. "They worry is their job safe and what's going to happen to the economy."
Reaching voters who are not necessarily involved with unions is also crucial, Rocha said.
"This is about the American worker," he said. "Not the union worker but all workers."
The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision paved the way for the super PAC. While union leaders initially decried the ruling for allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to spend vast amounts of money during the election cycle, they now are using it to their advantage.
Rocha said the American Worker PAC will use most of its resources in areas where the number of Latino voters is increasing due to redistricting. Local workers in each district will be used to develop radio and television ads dealing with jobs and the economy in both English and Spanish. The PAC will also bankroll research, polling and mailings.