Political and Legislative Activity


Because workers' rights are determined by law, the Louisiana AFL-CIO endeavors to elect candidates whose platform is aligned with the goals and objectives of organized labor. Election endorsements are made after careful review of a candidate's incumbency, voting history, qualifications and current stance on issues, and may take place at either the local or state level, depending on which office the candidate is seeking.

All local unions in good standing are urged to take part in this process. Your voice cannot be heard if you are absent. Ask your local labor council about its COPE (Committee on Political Education) Committee and process, and participate in local labor council meetings on a regular basis.

When the elections are over, our work continues through the legislative process. Advocates for our working families meet everyday during the legislative sessions to review legislation and formulate positions and action plans. Representatives of several building trades, fire fighters, police, teachers and school employees, railroad workers, and state employees regularly take part in these meetings.


Introduction to Grassroots Lobbying


The following is information you will need to be an effective grassroots lobbyist. Men and women who are working at the grassroots level in efforts to influence legislation on behalf of the labor movement have had a great deal of success both here in Louisiana and throughout the nation. By being well informed on the legislation you are interested in and by making sure your elected lawmaker knows your position and the reasons for it, you too can be a successful grassroots lobbyist.

Grassroots lobbying leads to the one thing organized labor needs the most from elected officials: ACCOUNTABILITY! Unless lawmakers are held accountable for their votes, they will continue to ignore the needs of the working men and women of Louisiana.

In an election, labor communities educate and encourage union members to vote for labor-endorsed candidates. Too often, the day following the election, the union campaign organization with its many volunteers, phone banks and other resources, are disbanded. This happens because most of the time we assume the labor-backed candidate will vote correctly. But with so many special interest groups competing for the legislator's vote, both here in Baton Rouge and in Washington D.C., that presumption has turned out to be dead wrong.

Only when union members at the local level are willing to make their concerns known to lawmakers on a regular basis can the legislators then understand the workers' interest in legislation before them. Such communications serve the dual purpose of not only informing the legislator of the trade union viewpoint, but they also let the legislators know that THEIR ACTIONS ARE BEING WATCHED CLOSELY BY THE FOLKS BACK HOME!

Put this information to work! Look around your community and see if there are other groups who are interested in Legislation that affects you. Trade union issues affect all workers, not just members of organized labor. Working together with others who share our goals, we can influence legislation that is in the best interest of organized labor and the working men and women of Louisiana.


How to Visit/Contact your State Legislator


In the District

Always call and make an appointment to see your legislator. Give your name and the name of the union of which you are a member. When you arrive for the visit, tell the legislator the reason you came. Be courteous and to the point. Don't stay too long, as legislators generally have many people to see each day. As you leave, thank the legislator for taking time to visit with you.

At the Capitol

Legislators work within a railed-off area. As you enter the back of either chamber, you will see a Sergeant-at-Arms standing by the rail. He or she will take a note from you to the legislator you wish to visit. The legislator will come outside the rail to see you. Be extremely brief and to the point, as legislators are very busy when the legislature is in session.

How to Write a Legislator

To write a legislator at the state capitol without a specific box #:

Senators:
The Honorable _________
Senate Office
P.O. Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Representatives:
The Honorable _________
Speaker's Office
P.O. Box 94062
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Representative (or Senator) ________:

I am writing regarding House (or Senate) Bill number ___. Members of organized labor and their families are for (or against) this bill because (give reasons). I am hopeful you will support our position.
Thank you for your consideration, I am
Respectfully yours,
Name, Local # & Int'l Union
Mailing Address
City, LA zip

A person's name, address, and local union should be clearly stated in the letter if a reply or contact from a legislator is expected. It is also helpful to cite specific proposals of concern, by bill number if possible.

How to Call a Legislator

"Good morning (or afternoon) Representative (or Senator) _____. My name is _____. I am a member of Local (give number) of the (international union). I am calling you in regard to House (or Senate) bill (number). We are for (or against) this legislation because (give reasons). We certainly hope you will support our position."

If the legislator replies he will support our position, close by saying: "I appreciate your helping us with this legislation. If I can help you in any way, please call on me."

If the legislator replies he will not support our position, close by saying: "I hope you will reconsider your position. This legislation is very important to all of us in the Labor Movement."

To have messages delivered to legislators at the Capitol or to talk to them during legislative session, phone:

House: 225-342-6945
Senate: 225-342-2040

A Senator should be addressed as Senator and a Representative as Representative.


How & Where to get Legislative Information


PULS Line

The Legislature provides a public service called PULS (Public Update Legislative Service) to answer questions while the Legislature is in session, such as status of bills, schedules of committee meetings, and legislative procedures. Citizens may send a Yes or No vote message to legislators. The PULS number is: 1-800-256-3793 or Baton Rouge residents may call 225-342-2546.

Internet

http://legis.state.la.us/
http://www.us.gov


Important Team Lobbying Information


Know your facts before you approach a legislator. Have a clear understanding of the position of the Louisiana AFL-CIO and know your talking points before you begin your efforts. Research, Research, Research! Work with the lobbying team at the LA AFL-CIO so that you don't confuse legislators as to labor's position. Attend ALL Legislative meetings at the Louisiana AFL-CIO offices. Attend committee meetings at the Capitol. A quiet presence is not a negative presence, particularly if you are not sure of what the AFL-CIO Lobby Team decided in the meetings prior to going to the Capitol. Instead it is an opportunity to learn more.

Always Remember:

  • Be prompt for appointments.
  • Always be polite and courteous to your legislators.
  • Be fully informed on legislation that affects Labor.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Be positive and optimistic - even when things don't seem to be going right.

If you have any questions about grassroots lobbying or labor's position on legislation, state or federal, contact the Louisiana AFL-CIO office in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana Statewide Elected Officials


Governor Bobby Jindal
State Capitol, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-342-7015
Fax: 225-342-7099

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu
959 North 3rd St.
P.O. Box 44243
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-342-7009
Fax: 225-342-1949

Atty. General Buddy Caldwell
State Capitol, 22nd Floor
P.O. Box 94005
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-326-6000
Fax: 225-342-8703

Secretary of State Jay Dardenne
State Capitol, 20th Floor
P.O. Box 70804
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-342-4479
Fax: 225-342-5577

Treasurer John Kennedy
State Capitol 3rd Floor
P.O. Box 44154
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-342-0010
Fax: 225-342-0046

Comm. of Agriculture Mike Strain
5825 Florida Blvd.
P.O. Box 631
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
Phone: 225-922-1234
Fax: 225-922-1253

Comm. of Insurance Jim Donelon
950 North 5th Street
P.O. Box 94214
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-342-5900
Fax: 225-342-3078


To keep up with the latest political and legislative developments, click here.

http://louisiana.gov
http://www.legis.state.la.us
http://www.senate.legis.state.la.us
http://www.house.legis.state.la.us
http://vitter.senate.gov/
http://landrieu.senate.gov
http://www.house.gov/jefferson
http://www.house.gov/melancon
http://www.house.gov/mccrery
http://www.house.gov/alexander
http://www.house.gov/baker
http://www.house.gov/boustany