In a recent interview, U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley’s campaign manager admits that Oregon labor bosses were key to Merkley’s defeat of rival Steve Novick in the primary. Merkley’s pro-EFCA stance made his candidacy a natural fit for union bosses eager to increase their membership and dues collected.
Q: Was it hard to get organized labor on board?
Jon Isaacs: It wasn’t difficult. I mean, we had to work hard at it. We had to earn it, I guess is the right way to characterize it. The Novick campaign tried to characterize it as an inside job, but we had to do about 40 meetings to get that endorsement.
To build a field campaign in the primary, you really rely on your allies. More than you do in the general election, because you have the funds to build a huge statewide field campaign of your own. So I really think that one of the keys to winning this was the work that the Oregon AFL-CIO and the SEIU put into this.