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April 24, 2019
CONTACT: Ryan Williams


Unions Spent $2B On Politics In 2018

Sean Higgins
April 23, 2019
Washington Examiner

Unions spent more than $2 billion on politics in 2018, according to a study released Tuesday by the nonprofit National Institute for Labor Relations Research.

Union spending was up $300 million from 2016, a presidential election year, indicating that unions are now spending more at the state and local level.

Nearly a quarter of the 2018 spending, $479 billion, went directly to state politics, more than double what the Labor Research group found in the previous election cycle. That finding is based on data from the Labor Department, the Federal Election Commission, and the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. The amount of state and local spending may actually be higher than reported, the Labor Research group said, due to the fact that unions have limited disclosure requirements in their federal filings and much of the funding may be “heavily misclassified.”

The switch comes as unions are fighting a trend by states to adopt right-to-work laws, which prohibit workers from being forced to either join a union or pay one a regular fee. Four states have adopted the laws since 2013, but a fifth one, Missouri, voted to repel such a law in 2018. The same year, a Supreme Court decision, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, effectively said that state and local public sector workers are under right-to-work protections. Unions are pushing friendly state legislatures to counter the ruling.

“It’s no surprise that Big Labor unloaded their multi-billion-dollar warchest in the 2018 election cycle to push for candidates willing to grant union bosses enormous privileges in direct opposition to worker freedom,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union bosses spend employees’ hard-earned money to support political agendas that undermine the rights of the employees they claim to ‘represent.'” The National Institute for Labor Relations Research group is the foundation’s research arm.

AFL-CIO President Trumka said Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Economic Club of Washington D.C. that unions had begin to turn the tide against right-to-work laws by pressing the case against them in key states like Michigan and Wisconsin. “We’ll get those [state laws] both reversed. The last one that happened [to adopt the law] was in Missouri. It was on the ballot and 67 percent of the people who lived in Missouri voted to repel right to work,” he said. Trumka said the unions were also focusing more on state and local level elections, claiming that in the last election unions helped to elect 960 people at various levels of government.

The Labor Research group noted that more than $1.3 billion of the $2 billion spent in 2013 came directly from union treasuries, meaning it was funded directly by workers, through their union dues, who may not have been supportive of this spending. Trumka revealed last year that the AFL-CIO’s own polling showed that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton beat President Trump among union voters 58%-36%, the lowest margin for a Democrat in recent decades. Clinton’s total was 10 percentage points lower than Obama’s in 2012 while Trump exceeded 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney by 3 points. This was despite the AFL-CIO and other major unions endorsing Clinton and heavily lobbying their own members to back her.

To access the article, click here.

Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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