Labor Watch

Union Members Fund $765 Million Left-Wing Payday

A new report released by the Center for Union Facts (CUF) reveals labor unions poured nearly $765 million into Democratic candidates, Left-wing causes, and liberal groups between 2012 and 2016, according to data from federal labor and campaign filings.

Democratic Party-aligned groups that received over $300 million from unions in that period include political heavyweights such as, the Center for American Progress, the Clinton Foundation, and Planned Parenthood (see my article on Planned Parenthood’s intrusion into online dating).

Unions show an evident bias against and blatant opposition to conservative groups in their political fundingsuch as organizations like Media Matters for America, another beneficiary of union resources. (See our full report on David Brock and Media Matters here.) Media Matters aims, “to stigmatize and marginalize conservative ideas … via an aggressive outreach program,” CRC’s Matthew Vadum writes.

“MMfA’s approach is to try to stamp out views with which its left-wing content analysts disagree. … Those who question the Left are blacklisted as contemptible bigots.”

Other national organizations that are getting rich on the backs on union members include Catalist, which drives get-out-the voted efforts for Democratic candidates, and Americans United for Change, which echoes support for any and all things Barack Obama – including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Obama’s failed stimulus package.

Unions don’t limit their donations to just campaigns and activist groups, though. CUF reports that nearly $7 million in union member’s dues were funneled into liberal news and media outlets, including American Prospect and Netroots Nation. Also among the left-wing media to receive union funding was Ed Schultz Broadcasting, a production company owned by the former MSNBC host Ed Schultz.

As the Left continues to profit off of donations funded out of union members’ paychecks, the political allegiances of a growing minority are increasingly disregarded by many on the Left. More than two-fifths of union households voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, according to exit polls from the election cycle.

Luka Ladan, Communications Director for the Center for Union Facts, notes:

In recent years, Big Labor has become the personal ATM of the Democratic Party, with no regard for employees’ actual political preferences. While many union members lean Republican, union elites are spending millions in dues dollars every year to curry favor from Democrats and left-leaning interest groups.

Some union leaders, however, are finally beginning to take note of this disconnect between union leadership and union members. Rick Bloomingdale, President of Pennsylvania AFL-CIOthe state’s largest labor unionexpressed his belief that his union did a poor job of listening to its members. Following a “listening tour” across the state to speak with members about the AFL-CIO’s approach to politics, remarked that, “We may have gotten too close to one party.”

Bloomingdale concluded, “We should be for people who are for us, regardless of party label.”

The Center for Union Facts (CUF), a watchdog group that monitors union political contributions, advocates for the Employee Rights Act introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN). If passed, the bill would require unions to obtain opt-in permission from members before spending the money from dues on any political organizations or activities – potentially limiting the amount of political cash available to major labor unions. The Employee Rights Act is under debate in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Employment and the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Speaking to the Washington Free Beacon about CUF’s report and the proposed law, Roe said,

“This staggering report underscores the need to ensure the views of all employees, not just the views supported by union dollars, are considered and respected. The Employee Rights Act is a commonsense measure which ensures transparency and fairness in the workplace.”