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Labor Unions Join Fried In Urging Republican Members To Vote Democrat

Nikki Fried stands at a podium with a Biden Harris Campaign sign taped to the front of it. Microphones are propped on the podium. Fried wears a navy suit and face mask with the word, "vote," on it. The press conference is held outside the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office.
Robbie Gaffney
Today Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried spoke at a press conference held by the Biden campaign. She voiced her support for presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying he will protect the right for workers to bargain with their employers.

The Florida AFL-CIO, which represents many of the state's labor unions, is reaching out to Republican members—urging them to vote Democrat in the presidential election. Florida AFL-CIO Public Policy Director Rich Templin says nearly 40% of union members registered to vote are registered as Republicans.

"We're talking to those members. We're reaching out to them in a very patterned, systemic way and what we are hearing back is they're done. They're done with the chaos. They're done with everything that they've been through over the past four years," Templin says.

Today he joined the state's Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried at a Joe Biden campaign event outside the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office. Templin points to the state's overburdened unemployment system as to why Republican leadership is failing workers.

"We had an unemployment system that we knew within days of the pandemic was going to collapse. We knew that millions of workers who are out of work, who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, would not get the lifeline benefits that they deserved," Templin says.

Unemployed Floridians faced a crashing website and long wait times over the phone when applying for benefits at the pandemic's onset. Templin says he's still getting calls from people who were denied unemployment assistance and couldn't qualify for federal aid.

As the number of Floridians filing for assistance skyrockets to half a million, the state is scrambling to fortify its beleaguered unemployment system.…

At the campaign event, Fried focused on the nation's unemployment numbers and COVID-19 death total as to why voters need to cast their ballots early—but the days left to do so are dwindling. Early voting ends this week for many counties in the Big Bend. Fried says there are more early voting sites this time than in years prior.

"Once you know how you're going to vote, check with your friends, check with your family members, your neighbors, and make sure they have a plan to vote early as well," Fried says.

There is no gap between early voting and election day for Bay and Gulf County. The early voting period for Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Calhoun, Hamilton, Wakulla, Madison, Franklin, Liberty, Jackson, and Jefferson Counties ends October 31. For Leon, Taylor and Gadsden Counties, early voting ends November 1.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.