Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

A Union-Approved Candidate

Here at Labor Pains, we often talk about the political clout of unions, how they funnel millions upon millions of dollars into elections, the vast majority of which goes to Democratic candidates. But it’s not often that a union makes a power play this blatant:

A government studies teacher at Washington Irving High School in Manhattan is making his first run for elective office by taking on an incumbent who angered the teachers’ union. Twenty-year veteran teacher Gregg Lundahl says he entered the Democratic primary because East Side Assemblyman Jonathan Bing introduced a bill this year to get rid of the “last hired, first fired” policy in the event of teacher layoffs.

That’s right: A union-backed, union-approved, union member is running for office in an effort to roll back reforms and maintain the status quo for teachers unions.

It’s one thing for teachers unions to donate money. The American Federation of Teachers, for example, has donated $27.7 million to political campaigns over the last two decades, $27.4 million of which went to Democrats. In other words, literally 99 percent of their political donations went to Democratic candidates. The National Education Association isn’t much better: They have donated $30.6 million in the same timeframe, $28.5 million of which went to Democrats. That’s “only” 93 percent; compared to the AFT, they’re paragons of bipartisanship.

Still, there’s a difference between funding a candidate and putting one of your own on the ballot. One wonders what the voters will make of this situation.

Categories: Center for Union FactsTeachers Unions