By International President Mike Futhey

Remember back in grade school, when we were given a page with four pictures on it — a dog, a cat, a horse and an apple — and told to identify which one of the four didn’t belong?

Imagine, instead, a page with these four pictures: a paycheck, a health-care insurance card, a union contract, and John McCain. Why doesn’t McCain belong in that series of photos?

  • McCain said in his presidential nomination acceptance speech that he would take his war on unions to the White House.
  • McCain calls labor unions “class warfare.”
  • McCain opposes “Buy America” provisions in legislation.
  • McCain voted in the Senate to gut rail and transit collective bargaining rights.
  • McCain voted against federal funding for mass transit.
  • McCain supports privatization of Social Security and Railroad Retirement, which means turning our retirement security over to Wall Street financiers — the same folks who have made such a mess of our economy.
  • McCain is in favor of opening the U.S. border to Mexican-operated buses and locomotives.
  • McCain supports dismantling of Medicare.
  • McCain represents the same Bush administration anti-union bias that has resulted in appointments of anti-union federal judges, regulators and arbitrators who, in word and deed, view labor unions as an evil to be eradicated.

Contrast the anti-union John McCain with the pro-labor Barack Obama.

  • Obama has a 100 percent UTU voting record.
  • Obama has pledged in writing to protect Railroad Retirement, Social Security and Medicare.
  • Obama consistently has supported public funding for mass transit and Amtrak.
  • Obama has spoken out in support of the UTU position on the commercial driver’s license problem facing bus operators.
  • Obama understands that this election is about Main Street vs. Wall Street, and Sen. Obama stands solidly on the side of Main Street.
  • Obama understands, as did Franklin Roosevelt, that antilabor policies are not the spirit by which our nation was founded, and that cheap wages mean low buying power, and low buying power means low standards of living.

As Mike Owens, a Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen general chairperson says, “We can’t keep complaining about agreements that are lousy and continue to vote for people who stick it to us.”

Transportation trades workers in Illinois, who have known Barack Obama for two decades, beginning with his election to the Illinois state senate, are so impressed with his voting record and support for organized labor and working families that they made a video in support of Obama.

The video may be viewed at by clicking on the Obama photo and scrolling to “Video: Obama in their own words.”

Barack Obama, through his Illinois state senate and U.S. Senate voting records, has earned the respect of working families in America.

In these difficult economic times for all working families, I urge you to join with me and go to the polls on Election Day and cast a ballot for the candidate who will put working families first – Barack Obama.