Another $20 Million in Big Labor Political Spending

Add another $20 million in the already ballooning political budget of the union bosses. The “Change to Win labor federation” is “. . . spending more than $20 million — mostly under the radar — to help elect Democrats in battleground states,” Marc Ambinder notes in his blog for the Atlantic.

The CTW union effort, focused principally in 14 states, most of them with competitive Senate races, compliments a mostly separate effort by the AFL-CIO, which has budgeted $53.4 million on its political program. Change To Win unions disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO in 2006 to focus on organizing. Since then, the two groups have worked well together, signing agreements to share information and some resources. Change to Win unions have worked with the National Education Association, the Steelworkers, and the Communications Workers of America — the latter two being stalwart AFL-CIO unions — on specific projects. Unilaterally, the Change to Win unions have mailed more than 31.2 million persuasion placards, made nearly 4.6 million phone calls, and made millions of what the unions call “member to member” contacts — direct engagements with union members, often at worksites.

Anna Burger the CTW’s president, said that more than 3000 union members had worked more than 40,000 volunteer shifts on the Obama campaign’s behalf in 14 battlegrounds. About 1250 of those union members canvassed white, working class union members. Burger said the mood among workers in these states has shifted from “anxiety to anger” about the economy, and that economic discontent was behind a recent surge of support for Democrats. CTW executive director Chris Chafe said that the economy, combined with union muscle, was putting Senate seats into play that Democrats had previously written off, including Rep. Tom Allen’s challenge to Sen. Susan Collins in Maine. On election day, more than 50,000 CTW members will have participated in the political program, he said.