Today, Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner turned his attention to the Employee Rights Act (ERA), specifically its provision requiring unions to get opt-in permission before using member dues for political purposes. Our Executive Director offered some thoughts on the widely supported legislation:
[…] Rick Berman, whose Center for Union Facts has advocated for the bill, argues it could be a “true wedge issue” because it is something Democrats cannot co-opt. He says his polling has shown 80 percent support for the legislation. “Republicans don’t have an 80 percent issue right now,” he said.
Higgins also reached out to the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) for its thoughts. Not surprisingly, CAP dodged the question:
Karla Walter, associate director of the liberal Center for American Progress’ American Worker Project, said Alexander’s proposals are simply part of a broader conservative attack on union rights and institutions. “It is not just concerning for members of unions. It is concerning for nonunion members. It is also concerning for nonunion workers because the [National Labor Relations Board’s] regulations protect 77 percent of private-sector workers, not just union workers,” she said.
Perhaps CAP is so interested in defending this indefensible perk of union bosses because CAP is on the Big Labor take. In unions’ most recent fiscal years (either 2013 or 2013-2014), CAP itself received $260,000 from union dues; its “journalism” arm ThinkProgress (operated as the “Center for American Progress Action Fund”) received $633,693. That includes $598,693 from the Service Employees International Union alone.
If the ERA’s paycheck protection provision passed, union bosses would need to convince their members that cutting six-figure checks to D.C.-based left-wing bloggers was in their interests. When 40 percent of union household voters support Republican candidates, paycheck protection might cause some of CAP’s support to dry up, giving the group a ready but unspoken excuse to change the subject.