Fun Forced-Unionism Facts

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) addresses a fundamental question rank and file union members are wondering — why spend so much on politics.

As the editorial notes, “This month marks the deadline for the last of the nation’s unions to file newly expanded disclosure reports, known as LM-2 forms.”

The Journal article spends considerable space mining the data from those reports. Among the highlights:

“Hard-working union members deserve to know, for example, that of the AFL-CIO’s $82 million in discretionary disbursements from July 2004 to June 2005, . . . [a] whopping $49 million, or 60% of its budget, instead went to political activities and lobbying, while another $2.4 million went to contributions, gifts and grants.”

“The National Education Association was even more skewed toward politics, spending 66% of its $143 million discretionary budget on matters unrelated to improving its members’ lots.”

“[B]ased on the filings, the AFL-CIO spent at least $2.7 million alone on T-shirts, flyers, telephone calls, Web site hosting, and other support for 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry.”

“Groups that received AFL-CIO money included Citizens for Tax Justice, an organization devoted to higher tax rates; the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank that campaigns against tax cuts; and the Alliance for Justice, a ferocious opponent of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees.”

The Journal correctly points out, “Dues-paying workers of the world might want to ask: ‘Why is Mr. Sweeney spending more of their money trying to raise taxes, or fighting for the cultural left, than he is on collective bargaining?’”

(Here’s a link to the section of the Department of Labor site where you can find and search Big Labor’s LM2s.)