Category Archive: News Articles

  1. Unions Sent $1.6 Billion to Liberal Groups

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    This article was originally published in the Washington Free Beacon.

    By Collin Anderson

    99 percent of union political spending went to left-leaning causes since 2010.

    Labor unions contributed more than $1.6 billion to left-wing political advocacy groups between 2010 and 2018, according to a new report.

    Organized labor’s political spending stands in stark contrast with how membership votes. While 2016 exit polls showed that nearly half of union households voted Republican, 99 percent of all union political contributions since 2010 went to Democratic causes. Unions gave more than $1.6 billion to Democratic political operations and liberal advocacy groups, according to a Center for Union Facts analysis.

    Major recipients outlined in a new watchdog group report include the Democratic Governors Association, the Center for American Progress, and Planned Parenthood.

    Rick Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts, said many workers are unaware that a major portion of their union dues and fees are used to finance political operations they might otherwise not support.

    “Many union members have no clue that their dues are being diverted to groups that have no impact on collective bargaining issues,” Berman said in a statement.

    Of the $1.6 billion in union political spending, more than $458 million went to groups aligned with the Democratic Party, including the Clinton Foundation, the National Democratic Club, and Planned Parenthood. More than $384 million went to groups that focus on advancing progressive economic causes. Nearly $11.5 million went to left-wing media operations.

    Big Labor’s political activities played a major role in the 2018 Supreme Court case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Several government employees sued to end mandatory union dues and fees because they amounted to compelled speech. The Court declared forced dues schemes unconstitutional in a 5-4 opinion, but the ruling only applies to government workers.

    Berman said lawmakers should seek similar protections for private sector union members through the Employee Rights Act. The bill requires written consent for an employee’s dues to be used for any purpose “not directly related to the organization’s collective bargaining.” Berman called the bill “common sense.”

    “Common sense legislation like the Employee Rights Act would restore transparency to today’s labor movement and ensure private-sector workers are no longer compelled to support political advocacy that they don’t agree with,” he said.

    Hillary Clinton won union voters in 2016 by the narrowest margin of any Democrat since 1984. Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination have gone to great lengths to woo organized labor. The substantial financial and political resources possessed by union leaders means 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are “falling all over themselves” attempting to win support.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) proposed a plan to double union membership just days after touting the endorsement of a union that has embraced the anti-Israel BDS movement. Former vice president Joe Biden labeled himself a “union man, period” at his first campaign rally. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg have both appeared in union picket lines and rallies in recent months.

    The Democratic scramble to win the union vote comes at a time of century-lowunion membership. Only 10.5 percent of American workers are in unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


  2. Unions Give $1.3 billion to Democrats, Liberal Groups Since 2010

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    This news article was originally published at

    By Sean Higgins

    Organized labor has given more than $1.3 billion to Democratic Party organizations and liberal nonprofit and activist groups since 2010, while 1 percent went to conservative groups or causes, according to a survey of federal data.

    The giving is starkly different from the beliefs of most rank-and-file union members, many of whom lean Republican.

    The report was compiled by the Center for Union Facts, a conservative watchdog organization, and was based on annual financial disclosure reports filed with the Labor Department. The “LM-2” reports were filed by union groups including the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation, and individual unions such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.

    The largest recipient of the union money was America Votes, a nonprofit liberal get-out-the-vote organization, which has received $15 million over the last seven years. The Democratic Governors Association was the next largest with $14.5 million. Overall, about $400 million went to groups directly involved in supporting Democratic officeholders and candidates. The rest went to a broad range of activist groups, nonprofits, and media organizations.

    Union leaders admit that their giving doesn’t necessarily reflect their members’ viewpoints. “In the last election, President Trump got 3 percentage points more of our members than Mitt Romney did. Unfortunately, Hillary [Clinton] got 10 percent of our members less than Barack Obama did. They either didn’t vote, or they voted for a third-party candidate,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters last year.

    Center for Union Facts spokesman Luka Ladan said the numbers showed that union officials have “exploited” their members. “Union leadership provides a reliable ATM for the Democratic Party and liberal special interest groups across the country, whether employees agree or not. Union members are right to support the Employee Rights Act, which would protect their paychecks and hold union officials accountable,” Ladan said.

    The Employee Rights Act, introduced by Republican lawmakers last year, would require unions to get written permission from members before using their dues for political purposes. It also would mandate recertification votes following significant turnover at a workplace to determine if the union still has majority support of workers, among other changes.

  3. Illinois Worker Recounts Ordeal to Decertify Union

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    This news article was originally published at

    By Sean Higgins

    An Illinois woman recounted the three-year ordeal she faced to have her workplace’s union decertified in testimony Wednesday before the House Education and the Workforce Committee. She ultimately got a decertification vote, but the National Labor Relations Board, the main labor law enforcement agency, prohibited the votes from being counted.

    “They concluded that we did not deserve the decertification election because, although the union had a year to bargain and had even scheduled a contract ratification before I filed the petition that got us the election, they still had not had enough time to bargain. The ballots were destroyed, and we will never know the results,” Karen Cox told the committee.

    The testimony was given as part of a hearing on federal labor law reforms that would substantially raise the bar for unions to claim victory in workplace-organizing elections as well as require them to submit to periodic re-certification votes to show they still had the workers’ support. Republicans argued cases like Cox’s showed the laws were necessary.

    The main reform Republican lawmakers are pursuing is the the Employee Rights Act, which would require all workplace-organizing elections to be conducted by secret ballot, force unions to hold recertification votes if there has been more than 50 percent turnover since the last election, and require unions to get written permission from workers to use dues for purposes other than collective bargaining, among other changes.

    The hearing also highlighted the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would set the time period from when a workplace election is authorized by the government to when it is held to no fewer than 35 days, reversing a NLRB rulemaking that shortened the time period to as little as 10 days, and the Employee Privacy Protection Act, which would prohibit employers from giving away most employee contact information without the worker’s consent. Under current federal law, employers are obliged to turn over all worker contact information to unions, regardless of whether the workers consent.

    Cox worked as a forklift operator at a cold storage facility in Rochelle, Ill., when she learned that her employer had been unionized by the United Food and Commercial Workers through a ‘card check’ election. A majority of the facility’s 110 workers signed cards saying the wanted a union. Cox contended that the union deceived the workers.

    “Several employees had signed cards because they had been told they would just receive information about the union. They didn’t know that if the union got enough signatures, 50 percent plus one, the company could recognize them and they could come in without an election,” Cox said. With help from the National Right to Work Foundation, Cox obtained the necessary signatures from her co-workers in 2013 to get a decertification vote held that year.

    The UFCW appealed to the labor board, which seized the votes pending the outcome of the case, a process that took two years. In the meantime, the UFCW negotiated a contract with the employer. “What they negotiated for us was basically the company handbook — we were paying [union] dues for something we already had,” Cox said.

    In a 2015 ruling, the labor board said, in effect, that Cox’s decertification request wasn’t fair to the union. “We find that a reasonable period of time for bargaining had not elapsed when the petition was filed and thus conclude that the petition is barred.” She now works for a different employer.

  4. GOP Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Calling for Major Labor Reforms

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    This news article was originally published at

    By Ted Goodman

    Republican lawmakers offered a version of labor reform Thursday, the same day Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a federal $15 minimum wage proposal

    Tennessee Republican Rep. Phil Roe reintroduced the Employee Rights Act (ERA) Thursday, which would significantly amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA was passed “in 1935 to protect the rights of both employees and employers and encourage collective bargaining.”

    Last session, 170 members of Congress, including 33 senators, co-sponsored the legislation last session.

    “The rights of American workers were under attack during the Obama presidency, and it is time to restore those rights and work to foster a pro-growth, pro-employee environment,” Roe said in a press release. “This legislation will ensure individuals’ rights are upheld when considering whether or not they wish to join a union.”

    The ERA includes labor law reforms specific to unions and membership, calling for secret ballot elections, something that is not always guaranteed today. As it stands, labor organizers can issue authorization cards, which forces employees to make their vote public. A union organizer can collect these cards and if they can get a majority of members to sign on, they can take them to the National Labor Relations Board to demand certification.

    The ERA would also require all unionized workplaces to hold secret ballot elections periodically in order to determine whether or not they wish to be represented by their current union. When 50 percent of the workplace is turned over, the union would automatically be put up for a re-vote instead of existing in perpetuity. The ERA mandates re-certification after substantial turnover.

    The legislation proposes political protection for members. Currently, members are often unaware of where their union dues are going. The ERA would require unions to receive affirmative permission from members to use his or her dues payments for political spending. Unions often back liberal non-profits and advocacy groups without full membership awareness.

    “The Employee Rights Act would substantially update American labor law for the first time since the 1940s,” Center for Union Facts Executive Director Richard Berman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Current labor law is rigged in favor of union leadership against the interest of its own members.

    The proposed bill also strengthens the NLRB’s ability to enforce anti-coercion and anti-intimidation rules. The ERA would give the NLRB the right to de-certify a union for intimidating members and criminalizes union threats.

    “Union elites have grown unresponsive to their members, trampling their workplace rights to maintain power,” Berman asserted. “National and regional polling clearly indicates union members support the ERA. The complicity and silence of Democrats in denying employee rights is embarrassing.”

    Roe argued that the ERA isn’t anti union, asserting that it’s commonsense.

  5. Heritage Action Pushes Lawmakers on Employee Rights Act

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    This article was originally published at

    By Sean Higgins

    Heritage Action, the activist branch of the nonprofit conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, is pushing lawmakers to take up the Employee Rights Act, a major reform bill that would give more rights to workers who dissent from organized labor.

    The activist group has said it will make co-sponsoring the legislation a “key vote” that it will use as part of its annual evaluation of how conservative lawmakers are.

    “The Employee Rights Act would solve problems workers face today—including problems enshrined in current labor law. The bill would help restore a balance of power in the workplace from unions to workers,” the organization said in post Wednesday. “Heritage Action…will include co-sponsorship of this legislation in our scorecard.”

    The scorecard is important because it is used by lawmakers, activists and the media as a yardstick of how faithful lawmakers are to conservative ideology.

    The Senate version of the Employee Rights Act is sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, while Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., introduced its House counterpart, both in July. They have 21 and 51 co-sponsors, respectively, all Republicans. Neither piece of legislation has received a vote or committee hearing since they were introduced.

    Heritage Action’s move is intended to get lawmakers to give the legislation a second look and to build pressure on the GOP leadership to take it up.

    The legislation would prohibit a union from using a worker’s membership dues for any purpose other than collective bargaining without getting that worker’s prior written consent. It makes use of threats or force against a worker a federal crime. The bill also includes several reforms to workplace election rules, such as requiring all elections have secret ballots and that a union win a majority of all workers, not just a majority of those who voted.

    It also would reverse a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces labor laws, that shortened the time from when a union election is held to as little as 11 days from the initial announcement. Republicans have called the decision the “ambush election rule,” saying it was intended to ensure that the vote happens before workers hear all the pro and cons of joining a union.