Unions Support Left-Wing Organizations, Politicans: Reports

Published February 1, 2007

A new report filed by the National Education Association (NEA) shows the organization’s far-left tilt.

The report shows the teachers’ union gave $4.7 million to the same extreme-left groups it did in 2005. These include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ($5,000), Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network ($5,000), Human Rights Campaign ($30,000), People for the American Way ($160,805), Rainbow/PUSH Coalition ($5,000), and WAND Education Fund ($12,000).

But these are just the tip of the iceberg. The NEA also sent tens of millions of dollars to its UniServs (a nationwide network that links the national organization with state and local affiliates) to engage in politicking and unreported in-kind support for these and other organizations.

The NEA’s 2006 LM-2 financial disclosure report, filed November 29 with the U.S. Department of Labor, reveals income and expenditures in detail.

Election Activism

Union activism in the 2006 election cycle was high, and labor leaders claimed their efforts were decisive in attaining the new Democratic majority.

Organized labor matched or exceeded its 2004 spending. The AFL-CIO reported it spent more than $40 million and recruited 205,000 union volunteers to knock on more than 8.25 million doors and make more than 30 million phone calls. The Service Employees International Union spent another $65 million.

The NEA says it deployed 67 staffers to 26 states, sent 188 different direct mail pieces to 3.6 million people, and, as of May 2006, had spent nearly $600,000 on ballot measures in support of tax increases.

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation reports more details in its “Union Election Wrap-Up“. The Capital Research Center provided a pre-election perspective in “Unions Hope to Put Democrats in Power“.

Minimum Wage Resource

The Heritage Foundation introduces its Minimum Wage Resource Page by saying, “As Congress and policy makers resume the debate over raising the minimum wage, they should ground their arguments on solid facts and expert analysis. To assist policy makers in assessing the consequences of a higher minimum wage, The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of economic studies that question the effectiveness of minimum wage increases.”

The page is available online in the labor section of its Web site, http://www.heritage.org.

‘Dance of the Lemons’

Those who are familiar with public education know it can take years to fire a bad teacher. The Heartland Institute reports in “California Law Changes the Rules for Bad Teachers” that, instead of trying to get rid of them, some administrators promise good performance evaluations to bad teachers who transfer to another school.

The resulting “dance of the lemons,” as the practice is called in certain education circles, circulates bad teachers throughout school districts without holding them accountable.

In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has stopped the dance for some schools by signing Senate Bill 1655, which gives struggling schools “the right to refuse bad teachers whose seniority otherwise might guarantee them a spot on the faculty.”

Union Bullying Averted

In “Union Front-Group CURE Earns California Golden Fleece Award“, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) explains how labor unions have threatened to oppose nearly every new power plant nationwide with “environmental red tape and legal fees” unless the developers sign Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that promise to use union labor.

PRI reports two southern California developers forged ahead on their projects without PLAs but with a “watertight understanding of state and federal environmental laws.” The unions failed to stall the process, and in response to one allegation, authorities said the unions “failed to substantiate any of their assertions with credible, accurate, or reliable facts.”

Ultimately, the developers successfully mitigated union harassment, cut costs, and passed the savings on to consumers.

Ryan Bedford ([email protected]) is a labor analyst with the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington.