The labor movement geared up for its “biggest political blitz ever” in the November 2006 elections, according to the Capital Research Center.
The AFL-CIO announced it intended to pour “$40 million into 80 targeted races in 21 states–the largest voter mobilization drive in the history of organized labor.”
That is only the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t account for in-kind contributions such as volunteer hours, phone lines, brochures, etc.
In a post-election news release, the AFL-CIO claimed to have accomplished the following:
- Reached 13.4 million voters in 32 states.
- Involved 205,000 volunteers who knocked on 8.25 million union doors; made 30 million phones calls to union voters; mailed 20 million pieces of mail to union homes; and distributed 14 million worksite fliers.
- Reached out to 496,000 drop-off voters (voters who participate only in presidential elections) in Ohio alone.
- Worked for minimum wage initiatives in every state where they were on the ballot: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Ohio.
Those numbers do not include election activities by the bitterly partisan and politically charged Change to Win unions.
Source: Capital Research Center, “Unions Hope to Put Democrats in Power,” http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/LW1106.pdf
Unions to Press Agenda
With the Democratic Party in control of Congress, unions will push to implement Card Check elections, which make workers vulnerable to union harassment during organizing campaigns. They are also planning to work to overturn the fall 2006 rulings in what are known as the Kentucky River cases, which expanded by about eight million the number of workers considered to be supervisors ineligible for union representation.
The Alliance for Worker Freedom has posted on its Web site a set of talking points that note the Card Check elections permit union organizers to observe as workers “check the card” to join and harass them when they don’t “vote” the right way. This is an assault on secret ballot elections, which give workers the liberty to “decide on union membership free of influence by either the union or the employer.”
Talking points on the Kentucky River cases include the National Labor Relations Board definition of “supervisor” and note, “Nurses who regularly run shifts at health care facilities should be considered supervisors.”
Source: Alliance for Worker Freedom, http://www.workerfreedom.org; “Talking Points on NLRB Supervisors Ruling,” “Talking Points on Card Check”
Big Labor Backs Soros
George Soros has moved his focus from trying to buy the presidency to buying ideas and funding think tanks. The change has crippled many of the 527 organizations he has funded. 527s are political action committees not subject to the same regulations as PACs regulated by the Federal Election Commission.
In “George Soros: The Left’s One-Man Message Machine,” the Capital Research Center explains how Big Labor will more than make up for the lost revenue, noting, “labor-affiliated political action committees (PACs) raised about $100 million in 2005.”
Source: Capital Research Center: “George Soros: The Left’s One-Man Message Machine,” http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/FW1106.pdf
Prevailing Wages, Crumbling Schools
Kentucky’s prevailing wage laws are as obsolete and dangerous as the dilapidated school buildings the state forces children to attend, according to the state’s budget director and a Kentucky-based think tank.
“Any policy that frustrates our objective of replacing those obsolete buildings is a policy that competes directly with one of our most important objectives, which is to empower our children with higher opportunities,” testified State Budget Director Brad Cowgill to the Kentucky House Labor and Industry Committee in 2006.
In “The pinch of prevailing wage,” Jim Waters, director of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, explains, “Bricklayers aren’t the only ones carrying a heavy load as a result of the state’s prevailing-wage policy. It’s breaking the backs of teachers, students, and taxpayers, too.”
Source: Bluegrass Institute: “The pinch of prevailing wage,” http://www.bipps.org/article.asp?id=681
Ryan Bedford ([email protected]) is a labor analyst with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington.