Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Progressives Love Labor Unions, Until This One Thing Happens

UpworthyUnionBusterLiberal websites and progressive outfits—many of which receive some of the $100+ million directed from unions  to the left-wing infrastructure annually—are big promoters of the union agenda. But like unions themselves, when the realities of collective bargaining are brought to their own doors, even the most pro-labor groups can bust unions in ways that make a Midwestern Republican governor blush.

The latest to join the “unions for thee but not for me” trend appears to be the website Upworthy. A few months ago, we noted that the “viral content” producer (incorporated as “Cloud Tiger Media”) had received $804,000 from the AFL-CIO for “Consulting on Public Education of Labor Movement” in 2013 and 2014, according to Labor Department filings. Now, Gawker reports that the site’s owners are dissuading a union organizing effort at the company:

No, we didn’t say it wouldn’t be allowed at all — Peter [Koechley] and I told our writers we support their right to form a union, and believe unions are an important force for economic equality, but that doing this now at Upworthy could come at a cost to the company in terms of our ability to raise capital.

There’s quite a bit to parse there. First of all, there’s a reason that Upworthy bigwigs “didn’t say it wouldn’t be allowed at all”—that would almost certainly be found to be an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act.

But what’s more interesting is the concession that unionization “could come at a cost to the company.” Of course, that would happen to fast food franchises if the Fight for 15 protests Upworthy promoted (as in the clip of Upworthy rhetoric from the SEIU “fast food strikes” below) led to unionization or other union-desired outcomes.


It’s good to see that even left-wing union-funded outfits concede that unionization can be costly—even if only to them.

We’ve seen this before: In an ultimately futile effort to prevent its staff from unionizing, left-wing media critic and card-check bill cheerleader Media Matters lawyered up with a top employer-side law firm to protect its employees’ secret ballot. It remains to be seen what will happen over at Upworthy, but once again hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor funding has failed to supersede economic reality at a union-funded outfit.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsPolitical Money