Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Another Split in the House of Labor

Given the still-fresh split of the AFL-CIO, it won’t surprise you to know there are deep fissures between some of America’s most powerful union bosses. The Nation — that font of free-market fanaticism — brings us the latest: Working For Us, the labor-funded PAC aimed at forcing moderate politicians toward a more extremist economic agenda.

From The Nation:

… Working For Us, a new political action committee pressing Democratic incumbents to support “economic security,” a “living wage for all workers” and a “progressive political agenda.” Breaking sharply with the posture of most progressive organizations, the group will not simply criticize Democrats who fail that test. It will try to end their careers.

Ahh, but not everyone is happy. AFSCME president Gerald McEntee, whose control over the purse strings of a major public sector union grants him enormous political sway, is not amused:

Win or lose, the effort has already drawn sharp criticism from party strategists and activists, including some labor leaders. AFSCME president Gerald McEntee recently attacked Working For Us at a Congressional retreat, declaring, “In blue America, there’s no room for PACs to chase vulnerable members they have differences with.”

Never mind that McEntee simply takes for granted that he only represents the interests of “blue America.”

Then there’s at least one other unhappy group:

The trial lawyers association, another powerful Democratic-leaning interest group, withdrew from the Working For Us coalition once its focus on primaries became clear.

When you’ve gone too far for the trial lawyers, you know something’s not right. That should be a message for the SEIU/Teamsters/Steelworkers bosses who hope that using their members’ dues dollars will have politicians Working For Them.

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