Q: What is COPE?

The Committee on Political Education, commonly known as COPE, is the nonpartisan political arm of the AFL-CIO. COPE reports facts about issues and candidates. It follows the voting records of elected public officials. It helps educate AFL-CIO members so that they will vote in an informed manner. COPE workers carry out voter registration drives and try to get out the vote on Election Day, so that the result will be a decision of the true majority of the people. COPE operates on national, state, county, city, congressional district, and local union levels.

As stated in the AFL-CIO Constitution, COPE has the task of “encouraging workers to register and vote, to exercise their full rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and to perform their rightful part in the political life of the city, state, and national communities.”

COPE is NOT a political party. The resolution of political action passed unanimously by the First AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention states: “We reaffirm organized labor’s traditional policy of avoiding entangling alliances with any other group and of supporting worthy candidates regardless of party affiliation.”


Q: C.O.P.E. Contribution Form

COPE’s funds come from the voluntary contributions of AFL-CIO members and our friends.

Please print and fill out this form then fax to the Business Office at 408-979-5500.

Thank you for contributing to the IBEW-COPE.


Q: State COPE

The president and the secretary or (secretary-treasurer) of the AFL-CIO state central body are automatically chairman and secretary (or secretary-treasurer) of the state COPE.

State COPEs make endorsements in representative conventions for such statewide offices as U.S. senator, governor, and other officers elected to serve the state as a whole, and upon the recommendation of congressional district COPEs, make endorsements for U.S. House candidates, as well.


Q: Congressional District COPE

Where there is only one COPE in a congressional district, it must, of necessity, be a congressional district COPE. Where there are two or more COPEs in a congressional district, each COPE should appoint a delegation to meet with representatives of other COPEs in order to plan overall operations throughout the district.


Q: Local Union COPE

COPE suggests that each local appoint a local union political education committee of at least five to serve (1) the local union on matters of political education, and (2) as representative delegates to the city, county or congressional district committee on political education. These delegates should be persons who are definitely interested in political action and who are willing to devote time and energy to these activities.


Q: Committees

The delegates from the various local unions make up the COPE committee and from these delegates, the officers, subcommittee chairmen and subcommittee members are elected and/or appointed. These officers are chairman and secretary-treasurer. The executive council should include subcommittee chairmen and should function as the steering committee.

  • The finance committee functions to raise funds and to audit disbursement of all funds.
  • The public relations committee handles all publicity, speakers bureau, news releases, and all political education materials.
  • The screening committee checks on voting records of candidates; recommends action by the executive board as to endorsements; and interviews all prospective candidates for public office whom the organization might support or oppose.
  • Volunteers in Politics (VIP Program) coordinate activities in all phases of a campaign, set up precinct committees, furnish speakers to other organizations, create interests in voting among voting-age family members and furnish volunteers for COPE register-and-vote campaigns.


The registration and precinct organization committee appoints precinct captains, sets up teams in precincts to visit homes of members and friends to explain issues and records of candidates, checks membership lists against voting lists, notifies locals of members not registered, explains election laws to members through local union meetings and literature, and in general, functions to register and otherwise qualify the members and voting-age members of their families to vote.