Big Labor’s Political Machine Steamrolls Workers’ Rights
Washington, DC– Big Labor had some of the best seats in the house earlier this summer when Bill Clinton strolled onstage at the most lucrative political fundraiser in the nation’s history. That’s because ten union bosses each forked over $500,000 in mostly forced union dues to sit front-and-center at the shameless “Tribute to Bill Clinton” hosted by the Democrat National Committee at the MCI Center in Washington, DC.
“Union boss shamelessness has reached an all-time high,” said Foundation Director of Legal Information Randy Wanke. “They dished out $5 million in mostly forced union dues to honor one of the most corrupt Presidents in American history.”
Other union bosses gave sizable contributions to the Democrat Party’s “soft money” fundraiser as well. But noticeably absent from that $25 million mega-fundraiser were the millions of hardworking Americans who were forced to pay for Big Labor’s evening with Bill and his comrades in political chicanery.
Burton Ayres, who was fired by Johnson Controls, Inc. at the demand of union officials for not paying for the union’s political activities, wasn’t invited. Neither were tens of thousands of California public university employees who, under a law recently signed by California Governor Gray Davis, are forced to pay compulsory union dues for politics and lobbying as a condition of employment.
They, like 12 million American workers, are forced to provide the cash that fuels Big Labor’s political machine – a political spending machine that union bosses have kicked into high gear for this election to usher in a new era of Big Government and economy-wrecking policies.
Foundation fights union power grab
The Foundation has stepped up its free legal aid program to meet the growing demands of union-abused employees. Currently, Foundation attorneys are providing free legal aid to more than 100,000 employees in almost 500 cases nationwide. Every day, the Foundation hears cries for help from rank-and-file workers who are outraged that union officials have been spending their money to elect extreme, tax and spend, Big Government politicians – and they never had a say in the matter.
“Big Labor’s quest for political supremacy has reached a fever pitch,” said Wanke. “As power-hungry union partisans intensify their power grab, the Foundation is stepping up its efforts to protect the rights of America’s workers.”
Realizing that the Presidency, control of Congress, and the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court all hinge on this year’s election, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has vowed to spend twice all previous amounts of union dues for politics.
Big Labor political spending hits all-time high
Professor Leo Troy of Rutgers University estimated that Big Labor spent up to $500 million in “soft money” and in-kind expenditures during the 1996 election. That means Big Labor may spend a whopping one billion dollars for politics this time around.
The political spending that Big Labor reports is just the tip of the iceberg.. According to Troy, their largest chunk of spending comes in the form of in-kind political expenses, which he estimates are at least 3 to 5 times more than Big Labor’s reported Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions.
In-kind expenses include huge, partisan-driven get-out-the-vote drives, leafleting, phone banks, and targeted political mailings. For example, in 1998, union officials placed at least one full-time political organizer – from each major labor union – in each congressional district to do partisan political work.
In this election, the AFL-CIO is targeting 71 congressional races as “mobilization opportunities.” They have placed an operative for each union in each congressional district, while identifying 1,600 coordinators in 35 states to bring Big Labor’s propaganda machine to worksites.
Union bosses use fear to crush resistance
Polls show that more than 60 percent of union members do not want their dues spent on union political activities. Unfortunately, fear of retaliation from union bosses prevents most from merely asserting their legal rights.
“Through the use of violence and intimidation, and with the help of lapdog politicians like Bill Clinton, Big Labor has the heel of its boot firmly planted on the necks of America’s working men and women,” said Wanke. “That’s why the Foundation’s national program of free legal aid to union-abused workers is so important.”