Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Labor Union or Partisan Pressure Group?

In the past decade has heralded a new role for organized labor. Suddenly, the weapon of choice for unions is no longer the clipboard, but the lobbyist. Smaller groups have consolidated into mega-unions like the SEIU that boast deep pockets and an even deeper desire for political power. While it’s no surprise, it bears repeating: that power is getting exercised exclusively on behalf of one political party.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka hasn’t even been trying to hide this since the election. Instead he and his flacks have been barnstorming from microphone to microphone, boasting about how many members voted the “right” way.

West Virginia

“Union members provided the margin of victory for this race,” said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale, who said that 65% of union households had supported [Democrat] Mr. [Joe] Manchin, compared with just 47% of non-union households who had supported the two-term governor.


The AFL-CIO also said it was influential in Delaware, where it calculates union members represent about 15% of the vote. The federation said union members helped Delaware Democrat Chris Coons beat Republican Christine O’Donnell, whose Senate run had the backing of tea party groups and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, among others. About 63% of union members supported Mr. Coons in his race, the AFL-CIO said.


In Connecticut, where union members number more than 300,000, 60% of those voting union members supported longtime [Democrat] Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the winner of a highly competitive Senate race against the multimillionaire Republican former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, the AFL-CIO said.


“We did our job,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told the Huffington Post. “No matter what demographic, you look at our membership, we had large margins for progressive candidates approaching 30, with [Democrat] Harry Reid it was higher. We voted 69 to 29 for him which is a 40 percent margin.

Does this sound like a workers’ interest group or an arm of the Democratic Party? Can you even begin to imagine the outrage if Walmart CEO Michael Duke spent his time after the election bragging about how many employees voted Republican?

The AFL-CIO spent millions in worker dues donating to Democratic candidates, airing commercials attacking Republicans, and sending mailers demanding that members vote left. And yet in most states, 30% to 40% of union members didn’t vote Democrat.

It’d sure be nice if the AFL-CIO decided to represent those workers too.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union Facts