"Vote No on 1 and finish strong," Painters General Secretary-Treasurer George Galis told the more than 160 area union activists crowded into NoVA Labor headquarters Saturday morning. The fired-up crowd quickly fanned out across Northern Virginia to door-knock and lit-drop thousands of union members, urging them to turn out to vote on Tuesday. "We're from your union," UFCW 400's Rob Trotter told a Virginia voter, explaining why unions are urging a "No" vote on Question 1 -- which would write Right to Work into the Virginia state constitution. Per de la Gardie, a visiting Swedish trade unionist looked on as Trotter showed off his computerized GOTV system, which combined labor voter info with area maps, "even including topography," Trotter laughed. Trotter and fellow UFCW 400 member Don Cash Jr. exchanged stories with de la Gardie about differences and similarities between the labor movements and political systems in Sweden and the United States. "In Sweden, everyone is automatically registered to vote, and we have an 85% turnout in elections," said de la Gardie, who was shocked to hear about the existence of "Right to Work" laws in the United States. "Throughout Europe we're very worried about what would happen if Donald Trump is elected," said de la Gardie. Back at NoVA Labor, returning volunteers feasted on cheeseburgers and hots fresh off the grill, manned by members of Iron Workers Local 5 and IUEC Local 10. The NoVA walks continue tomorrow; doors open at 9a.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock