98.6 a healthy number

Ninety-eight point six is a symbol of good health and that’s the percent of members of Change to Win unions in California whose locals have submitted solidarity charters and are now considered full members of the California AFL-CIO, said Art Pulaski, president of the state federation.

With that unity secured, Pulaski and San Diego labor council leader Jerry Butkiewicz confidently laid out an ambitious plan for mobilizing the federation’s 2 million members for the 2006 elections at a press conference during the winter meeting of the AFL-CIO executive council here.

The state organization already has a well-tuned campaign machine coming out of last fall’s special election in which voters roundly defeated four anti-working families initiatives promoted by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The federation has pulled together a strategic planning committee including both AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions. Goals include mobilization of 25,000 member volunteers.

Butkiewicz was clearly delighted with the prospect of the adding the strength of this city’s 10,000 school teachers, NEA members who he expects to quickly affiliate with the San Diego labor council. There’ll be no more pitting worker against worker, he said. “School board candidates are in for a big surprise,” he continued, “and all workers will be together.”