Several major labor unions are banding together to launch an ad campaign next week urging members of Congress to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans and to protect entitlement programs from major cuts as a solution to the looming fiscal cliff, a source with knowledge of the effort told CNN Friday.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association are banding together for this campaign, which will be launched next week.
The effort will include a "six figure" buy of television ads, as well as ads online, the source told CNN.
The groups will argue, using new polling data, that the public does not favor major cuts in entitlement programs like Medicaid, but wants to see a solution to curbing the nation's deficit based on raising the tax burden on the wealthier parts of the population, as well as policies that encourage job growth.
"There is certainly a consensus in the public that the solution to this is job growth and not cuts," the source said.
The targets of the ad push are several dozen members of the House of Representatives who the organizers believe will be more inclined to help support raising tax rates and less supportive of major spending cuts to key social programs.
The ads will air, according to the source, in Colorado, Missouri and Virginia. The Democratic senators in those states - Sen. Mark Udall, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Mark Warner -- are viewed by some on the left as possibly more willing to support major spending cuts that these unions would oppose.
This new initiative by the unions, which was first reported by the Huffington Post, shows a concerted effort by those on the left to stand their ground and take a more proactive approach to protect its priorities. It comes as several groups of business leaders also have weighed in with their own ad campaigns urging a solution.
In several meetings this week the president sat down with leaders of the business community, as well as unions and progressive groups, to discuss the fiscal cliff and various options. In the Tuesday session with labor and progressives the president delivered a "strong" and "determined" defense of his intent to allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire while preserving cuts for middle-income earners, according to conversations with several who attended.