wasser.jpg Jim Wasser served in Navy combat during the Vietnam War. His father fought in World War II, a veteran of the Pacific theater. 

Wasser, a member of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, respects Sen. John McCain’s military service—but not his record in the Senate. Wasser puts it this way:

He wants us to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, just like Bush. We could use that money to build schools, and roads, and create jobs with livable wages and benefits and insurance. He even took sides with Bush against increasing health care benefits for veterans.

People should let John McCain know: His agenda is not what we need, not now.

Wasser is taking his message to union members and union vets across the nation. He’s featured in a TV ad (see video above) the AFL-CIO is launching today in several communities across the nation that have been hard hit by the Bush-fueled recession. We have pulled together an AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council, made up of members from multiple unions who are taking part in roundtables with union vets around the nation today. They will continue to get out the message throughout the election season that there’s a big difference between McCain’s war record and the anti-working family policies he’d pursue as president.

More than 2.1 million union members are military veterans. They want to be respected for risking their lives for their country and rightly believe others who have served should similarly be honored. So our job is to highlight how McCain’s Senate voting record and the Bush-clone stands he’s taking on the campaign trail contrast with those of Sen. Barack Obama—and to pressure McCain to promise a different course as president than he has followed in the Senate. 

In fact, unlike McCain, Obama supported the 21st Century GI Bill that finally passed Congress. Obama, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, says one of his first acts as president would be reversing the 2003 ban on enrolling modest-income
veterans
for Veterans Affairs care. The ban, he says, has denied assistance to 1 million veterans. We’ve posted fact sheets on the positions of Obama and McCain on issues key to union vets—and a quick comparison shows clearly that, while McCain is willing to use his service to sell his candidacy, he’s not willing to extend support for today’s vets.

That’s what union vets—and all U.S. veterans—need to know.