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Local 1596-Orlando, FL, Kicks Off COPE Campaign to Support Transit Funding

As the November elections approach, Local 1596-Orlando, FL, is leading a COPE campaign to increase transit funding on the ballot and support candidates who will have workers’ backs. COPE is ATU’s political action committee (PAC). 

The Local is working with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who ensured that a penny tax dedicated to transit would be on the ballot this year. The ballot initiative would create about $600 million in funding for LYNX, greatly expand transit routes, and increase the size of Local 1596.


Local Launches Major COPE Blitz

The Local launched a major COPE blitz to boost member donations, money that can be used to promote the penny tax for the transit campaign. The Local asked Lynx to provide for COPE check off, setting up payroll deduction for the PAC, key to increasing participation in the program.

In April, the International provided COPE training for the Local, which began visiting members at several properties. The COPE drive was an opportunity to educate our members about the success that Local 1596 and the ATU Florida Legislative Conference Board had in stopping a bill that would have halted dues deductions at public sector locals in the state. The Local found that members were very willing to contribute to COPE when they heard about the Local’s political program and the opportunity to pass the ballot initiative to fund LYNX.


230 New Members Contribute to COPE

During the two-day COPE campaign, Local 1596 had great success, signing up 230 new members to contribute to the PAC - an increase of over $1,000 per month. The Local has also begun signing up members for the program at the union orientations, ensuring that new members hear about Local 1596’s political work right away. Over the next few months, these funds will help the Local put together a robust campaign to pass the penny tax and elect candidates who will advocate for increased transit funding. 

If the ballot measure is passed, Local 1596 will be in a great position to sit on a Citizens’ Oversight Board that will make decisions about how the new transit funding gets spent, increasing the power of the union. COPE opens doors. To get your local involved with COPE, please contact the Office of the President.