A Union Leader in Nebraska Tries to Leap to the Senate on Labor’s Strength

In 2021, as the first Halloween decorations were coming out in Omaha, Neb., a mechanic named Dan Osborn led 500 of his fellow union members out of the Kellogg’s cereal plant on F Street and onto the picket lines.

The strike, which involved over 1,400 workers across multiple plants, would last for a difficult 77 days, through brutal storms and imported strikebreakers and the threat of summary dismissals, which drew the attention of President Biden. A first contract was soundly rejected by the union, then a second finally ended the walkout, just before Christmas.

Now Mr. Osborn, 48, is trying to do something considerably harder: win a United States Senate seat as an independent in the deep-red state of Nebraska.

Mr. Osborn’s long-shot bid to defeat Deb Fischer, Nebraska’s Republican senior senator, in November, or even come close, will test whether the rising power of an energized union movement can translate to high elective office during an election year when working class voters will likely decide the next president, and the direction of the country.

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