RALEIGH — Representatives of the 110,000 members of North Carolina’s labor unions were in Raleigh Thursday kicking off their annual convention and getting fired up for this fall’s elections.

“Our folks, a lot of them are struggling,” said Marybe McMillan of the AFL-CIO. “They have family members that are unemployed. They want to elect candidates who are going to create good jobs.”

“Safe work place: Good for workers, good for business,” James Andrews with the AFL-CIO told the crowd. “Education: Good for workers, good for business. Our candidate Walter Dalton understands that.”

The AFL-CIO endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton, who told the group Thursday he is ready to put up a fight this fall. Dalton said that started when he launched his first TV ad this week, joining his Republican opponent Pat McCrory on the airwaves.

“He had about two and a half months of clean air,” said Dalton. “Well, yesterday, the caution flag came out.”

Dalton said he believes he has put forward a plan that will put folks back to work in North Carolina. He also said he believes recent republican leadership in the general assembly has moved the state in the wrong direction.

“I do think this legislature has taken a step back,” he said. “They cut economic development money when we need that money to recruit business. The Republican governor of Virginia was asking for more money while we were cutting that money. That’s a formula for disaster.”

The AFL-CIO agrees and said they believe Dalton and other Democratic candidates can helping rebuild the economy.

“Instead of trickle down we need to build the economy from the bottom up,” said McMillan, “not on the backs of workers. But in partnership with them. That’s how we create an economy that works for everyone.”