Tallahassee, Fla. (October 22, 2002) – In another stinging rejection of the Bush administration’s strategy to cozy up to the union hierarchy, the Florida Education Association (FEA) union has admitted that it has mortgaged its state headquarters building to raise more than $1.5 million to finance the defeat President George W. Bush’s brother in Florida’s gubernatorial election.
As revealed this week in an investigative report by National Review Online, “$1.7 million in equity the FEA sucked out of its South Adams Street building” was earmarked nearly two years ago for the explicit purpose of pummeling Jeb Bush in order to embarrass President Bush, even though many rank-and-file teachers support the Bush brothers.
“The union hierarchy is going all out to defeat Governor Jeb Bush and humiliate the president,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This is the gratitude the White House has been given for bending over backwards for union officials over the past 18 months.”
The teacher union’s actions – taken despite the Bush administration having given the union hierarchy and Senator Ted Kennedy virtually everything they demanded in the budget-busting education bill – are the latest sign that the White House’s strategy to court top union officials has backfired. The administration’s core policy concessions have not blunted ongoing attacks by union officials on Bush or other Republicans – but have begun to alienate the president’s natural base.
For example, over past eighteen months, the White House political office has: 1) given Teamsters and Carpenters officials significant influence over selection of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); 2) encouraged Congress not to hold hearings on legislation that would be embarrassing to union officials, such as legislation to end compulsory unionism; 3) filed arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing review of a NLRB decision that gutted employee rights not to pay forced union dues spent to support objectionable union activities; 4) inserted a discriminatory union-only project labor agreement in the Alaska energy legislation; and 5) signaled its intention to release the corrupt Teamsters union from federal oversight.
Despite these concessions, union officials continue to put their political money and muscle behind liberal Democrats. For example, based on an analysis of PAC giving in tight Senate and House races, over 95 percent of Big Labor’s contributions – including those made by the Carpenters and Teamsters union PACs – still go to Democrats. Meanwhile, despite the White House’s appeasement of the Teamsters union hierarchy, the union just endorsed Bill McBride, Jeb Bush’s opponent in the Florida gubernatorial election.
“By pursuing this appeasement strategy, the White House has been alienating its Right to Work base, and, even if it were worth it, they’ve gotten nothing in return,” stated Gleason.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.