Forced Union Dues-Funded Incumbent Protection

Will Big Labor Machine Rescue Unpopular Union-Label Politicians?

(Source: September 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

Over the past two years, Big Labor bosses have repeatedly succeeded in getting their favored federal politicians in competitive U.S. House districts and states to cast “politically difficult” votes.

Top AFL-CIO union official Richard Trumka is going all out this fall to help U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) retain the power to keep pushing forward his forced-unionism agenda in 2011 and 2012. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

Early in 2009, for example, union lobbyists twisted arms to secure majorities in both chambers of Congress for controversial “stimulus” legislation. Since it became law, the “stimulus” has bilked taxpayers of hundreds of billions of dollars to ensure that bloated, unionized government payrolls stay bloated, but furnished no detectable help for America’s private sector.

And, more even than President Obama or any other elected official, top union officials are responsible for Congress’s narrow votes to reconstruct America’s enormous health-care system in late 2009 and early 2010.

As the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported March 22, 2010, “in the final push before the vote,” many union bosses and union operatives “displayed their clout through threats to withhold endorsements from lawmakers who failed to back the bill. They also vowed to support primary challenges or third-party bids against incumbents who opposed” ObamaCare.

Now polls indicate that voters across the country are poised to punish vulnerable U.S. representatives and senators for doing what Big Labor told them to do.

Undoubtedly compounding the woes of many of the endangered politicians who backed the government union boss-friendly “stimulus” package and ObamaCare is that they are also on the record in support of forced-unionism initiatives that, due to stiff Right to Work opposition, have yet to be enacted.

Most of all, millions of freedom-loving citizens are furious with their incumbent politicians for having backed Big Labor’s now-stalled “card check” forced-unionism bill and its still-pending scheme to federalize government union monopoly bargaining over state and local public-safety employees.

National Union Boss Vows ‘Massive Incumbent Protection Program’

But despite poll after poll showing the public thinks little of the forced-unionism agenda and the politicians who have helped implement major parts of it, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka clearly believes he can build on the “achievements” of the 2009 “stimulus” and ObamaCare.

This fall, Mr. Trumka and his cohorts are expected to spend well over a billion dollars, mostly derived from union dues and fees employees are forced to pay as a condition of employment, on electioneering efforts designed to benefit their puppet politicians.

Union kingpins calculate that their forced dues-funded phone banks, get-out-the-vote drives, and propaganda mailings, mostly conducted under the radar, can help dozens of Big Labor politicians who would otherwise go down to defeat this year secure reelection.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME/AFL-CIO) union President Gerald McEntee has frankly called what he and other union bosses are up to a “massive incumbent protection program.”

Mr. Trumka and Mr. McEntee know that, if they can show this November that backing Big Labor’s agenda on vote after vote has relatively little political downside, despite that agenda’s unpopularity in the polls, it will be much easier for them to ram through “card check” and more in the 2011-2012 Congress.

But the National Right to Work Committee and its members (now 2.6 million, and growing) are now fighting to ensure that congressmen and senators who have carried water for Big Labor time and again are held accountable this fall.

Right to Work Survey 2010 Can Help Ensure Politicians Are Held Accountable

The principal Committee program for holding politicians’ feet to the fire is the federal candidate Survey 2010.

The ongoing Survey 2010 consists of three phases.

In the first phase, candidates receive questionnaires asking them how they intend to vote on a number of forced unionism-related issues, including mandatory “card checks,” federalized public-safety union monopoly bargaining, and national Right to Work legislation.

“The Committee’s goal is not just to secure enough support to block enactment of forced-unionism schemes like ‘card check’ legislation, but also to forge pro-Right to Work majorities in the House and Senate,” explained Committee President Mark Mix.

“That’s why the Right to Work survey raises the pressure on candidates to oppose the expansion of Big Labor’s forced-unionism privileges, and also to support rolling those privileges back.”

In the second phase of the Survey 2010, Committee members call and write the candidates, asking them to answer their questionnaires 100% in favor of Right to Work.

In the final phase, the Committee, through TV and newspaper ads, e-mails and the postal service, reports back to members and friends at the local level on how their candidates responded. That keeps the heat on non-responsive candidates to take a clear stand on the Right to Work issue.

“The aim of Big Labor’s billion-dollar, forced dues-funded electioneering program is to divert public attention from the damage that union-label politicians have wrought on America over the past two years and the even more severe damage they will do over the next two if they can,” said Mr. Mix.

Public Doesn’t Support Compulsory Unionism

“Big Labor has far more money at its disposal than do Right to Work supporters, but the union bosses have one major problem: The general public, and even the workers they claim to represent, don’t support what they are selling,” Mr. Mix continued.

“Poll after poll shows that nearly 80% of Americans agree that no one should be forced to join or pay dues to a union, simply in order to keep his or her job.

“The Committee survey program works simply by ensuring that the Right to Work issue, which already has overwhelming public support, remains in the spotlight throughout the campaign season.

“With members’ generous support, I’m confident that this fall the federal survey will force candidate after candidate either to pledge to stop attacking employees’ Right to Work, or face serious repercussions at the polls.”