The Working Families Party (WFP) is New York’s liveliest and most progressive political party. Formed by a grassroots coalition of community organizations, neighborhood activists, and labor unions, we came together build a society that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
We fight to hold politicians accountable on the issues working- and middle-class families care about, like good jobs, fair taxes, good schools, reliable public transportation, affordable housing, and universal healthcare.
OUR VICTORIES AND HISTORY
2009: With Albany considering massive cutbacks to education, healthcare, and other vital services, the WFP leads a successful fight to raise taxes on the wealthy, preventing the worst of the cuts.
2008: The WFP helps take back the State Senate after 30 years of right-wing Republican rule, and gets more than 150,000 votes for Barack Obama on its ballot line.
Why vote Working Families?
Voting Working Families means voting your values. It means taking a stand and sending a message about the world you want to see. One with an economy that works for everyone, where politicians put working people before CEOs, and where basic rights like access to healthcare or time off to take care of a sick family member are upheld.
Unlike other political parties, our work doesn’t end on election day. We’re always fighting – in Albany and in towns and cities across New York – for a working families-friendly agenda, and Working Families votes help push politicians to support progressive legislation. (more)
What’s “fusion” voting?
The Working Families Party is a third party with a twist, fusion voting.
Fusion voting allows one party (like the WFP) to “cross endorse” the same candidate as another party. The votes from each party are tallied separately, but then combined for that candidate’s total. It gives voters a way to “vote their values” by voting for the party of their choice without spoiling an election.
And it lets third parties like the WFP demonstrate support for the issues we’re fighting for. When votes on the WFP’s ballot line help a candidate we’ve endorsed win, we can hold that politician accountable to working people. Big business has plenty of money and power. Fusion helps us even the score.
Once common everywhere, fusion is now only legal in New York and a handful of other states. (more)
Do I have to be registered in the Working Families Party to participate?
No. Most WFP members and supporters are registered in other parties or are independents. All of them, however, share our vision. They vote on our line, join local chapters to work on campaigns, decide who we should endorse, and fund our work.
Does the Working Families Party ever run its own candidates?
Most of the time, the Working Families Party cross endorses Democrats or (occasionally) Republicans who promise to fight for issues that matter to working people. But we do run our own candidates, if we think we can win. Letitia James was elected to the New York City Council, Luci McKnight was elected to County Legislature in Albany, and Wayne Hall was elected mayor of Hempstead, Long Island, all solely on the WFP line.
If we think that there’s little difference between the two major party candidates, running our own candidate can send a powerful message to both the Democrats and the Republicans that working people can’t be taken for granted.
How does the WFP choose what candidates to support?
We stand with candidates who stand with us. Local WFP members interview candidates and make recommendations on who to endorse. It’s an original, exciting, democratic process that allows ordinary people to decide what candidates their party should support. (more)
Are there WFPs in other states?
Given the unexpected success of the New York WFP, there’s a lot of interest in forming WFP’s in other states. In 2002, our sister party in Connecticut was founded, and WFPs are being built right now in Oregon, South Carolina, and Delaware too.
Expanding the WFP to other states requires one of two things: either good fusion laws already on the books or a plan to establish fusion voting in the next few years.
Where does your funding come from?
Part of our funding comes from dues paid by our affiliated community groups and unions. But most of the funding for our grassroots operation comes from regular people like you. Chip in.
How many votes does the WFP get?
Our vote total goes up each year. In our first election in 1998, we received just over 50,000 votes on our line in the gubernatorial election, or 1% of the vote. Since then, we’ve more than tripled our share of the vote, drawing 160,000 votes statewide and becoming the top vote-getting third party in New York City. (more)
Can a third party really ever make a difference?
Lots of voters aren’t satisfied with the narrow choices offered by the major parties. But in most states, voters have two lousy options to choose from: the “lesser of two evils,” or the “wasted vote” on a third party.
New York is different. Because of fusion, our ballot line means something very real for politicians here. The Working Families ballot line is both the “carrot” and the “stick” that the WFP uses to hold politicians accountable. When politicians support and fight for our issues, they get the reward of an extra ballot line and the additional votes the WFP brings. When they side with corporations and big money donors, they face the “stick” option — we can run our own candidate on our line, or support the opposing party’s pick.
Over our first 10 years, building real power has meant lots of victories for progressive ideas.