Patient Power Is Dead: A Tour of the Left’s Advocacy for Government Control of Health Care Dollars (full series)
Obamacare and Alternatives | Medicare for All
Big Labor and Medicare for All
Labor Unions and the ACA | Promoters of the Status Quo
The Arabella Network | Arabella’s Secretive 2018 Election Projects
Big Labor and Medicare for All
National Nurses United, another of the groups listed in the Washington Post accounts about the 2017 incursion into congressional offices, is a stridently left-wing labor union, which was one of the few to endorse Bernie Sanders for president in 2016. The union is also a strong proponent of Medicare for All. The union’s 2021 annual report to the Department of Labor showed it had more than 156,000 members, collected dues of more than $13.3 million, and spent almost $1.9 million on “political activities and lobbying.”
National Nurses United is just one of many large left-wing labor unions promoting Medicare for All.
The following unions were listed as supporters of Medicare for All in at least one of the news releases from the offices of Sen. Sanders or Rep. Jayapal:
- National Education Association (NEA). The 2.9 million-member NEA is the largest labor union in America. Its 2021 annual report to the U.S. Department of Labor showed $588 million in total revenue, $377.4 million of it collected from the union dues of public workers.
The NEA has a thunderously loud political influence. At least $66 million of its 2021 expenses were clearly reported as “political activities and lobbying.” But this doesn’t include another $117.8 million given out as “contributions, gifts and grants.” These “gifts” were frequently very political. Some of the larger examples include more than $2.4 million for the Committee on States and other projects of the Democracy Alliance, a network of wealthy lefty donors who collectively fund projects to assist the election of Democrats.
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The second largest teacher union (1.7 million members) and another of the largest public worker unions in the nation took in $196.7 million in membership dues through the year ending June 2021. The AFT reported spending $48.8 million on political activities and lobbying in 2021.
However, a July 2019 report from the left-leaning media website ThinkProgress listed AFT as an example of a union that supports single payer “on paper” than “actually married to” it. The AFT president told ThinkProgress the group was “supporting various plans,” including one that—contrary to single payer—would allow private insurance for some patients.
- Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The 1.8 million-member SEIU is both one of America’s biggest labor unions and one of the most reliably left-wing. It took in $255 million in dues in 2020 and reported spending $60 million on political activities and lobbying. In addition to supporting specific congressional legislation, the delegates to the SEIU national convention approved a resolution endorsing Medicare for All as far back as 2016.
But the SEIU was also listed by ThinkProgress as an “on paper” but not necessarily “married to it” supporter of single payer. An SEIU official said the labor group supported “an array of improvements to the health care system,” rather than just Medicare for All. SEIU affiliates, such as 1199SEIU (discussed below) have historically been very active in promoting the expansion of Medicaid—a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The 545,000 member IAM reported $138.6 million in dues for 2020 and spent $3.1 million on political activities and lobbying.
- International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). With just short of 153,000 members, IATSE reported collecting dues of $20.8 million for the year ending April 2021 and spending almost $1.2 million on political activities.
- New York State Nurses Association. With more than 38,000 members, the New York Nurses reported collecting $48 million in dues and spending $2.1 million on political action for the year ending March 2021.
- American Postal Workers Union. With almost 217,000 members, the Postal Workers reported collecting almost $45.2 million in dues during 2020 and spending almost $2.5 million on political activities.
- National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). At the end of 2020 NUHW reported 15,000 members paying combined dues of $12.2 million, and almost $1.3 million spent on political activities and lobbying.
- International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. The Professional and Technical Engineers reported 59,000 members and $5 million in dues for the year ending March 2021.
- United Mine Workers of America. The Mine Workers have more than 56,000 members and reported $8.5 million in dues for 2020.
- Utility Workers Union of America. The Utility Workers reported 43,000 members in 2020 and dues collections of $12.6 million.
- Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes. In addition to maintaining the usage of a curious but not unheard of spelling for the word “employees,” the more than 30,000 members of this Teamsters affiliate are the maintenance workers for railroad tracks and infrastructure. For the year ending March 2021 Maintenance of Way Employes reported collecting $13.2 million in dues. (Its health care advocacy appears to be a radical left departure by the local union from the agenda of the Teamsters national headquarters, which has a website that appears to show little to no position regarding national health care policy).
- AFL-CIO affiliates in Vermont, Maine, South Carolina, and Minnesota were also listed as supporters of U.S. Rep. Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2021.
In the next installment, many labor unions are also promote taking a more gradual approach of building on Obamacare.