Last year, for the first time ever, the number of public-sector union members exceeded private-sector union members. As it has been estimated (conservatively) that private-sector union members (most of them under the threat of losing their jobs) shell out $13-$15 billion annually in union dues, given the growth in public-sector unions, the union industry easily rakes in in excess of $26 billion or more per year in union dues alone. As a result, union bosses have a vested interest in electing politicians who will help them maintain or expand their revenues.
In 2010, after finally having gotten control of two branches of the federal government and on the cusp of finally ending America's free enterprise system, union bosses are spending hundreds of millions to save as many of their political puppets as possible. Consider this:
In 1996, Rutgers economics professor Leo Troy estimated that union political expenditures totaled about $500 million in each election cycle. More recently, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research estimated that total union political expenditures reached $925 million in the 2004 cycle. Over time, this has added up: According to The Center for Responsive Politics, eight of the top ten all-time political contributors are labor unions.
Is it little wonder, then, that the White House is trying to falsely accuse the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the very thing the Democrats are doing [taking money from foreign nationals]? They see opposition as a threat to not only their livelihoods, but also their vision of America.
With the weight of an estimated $3 trillion in underfunded pension funds in the public-sector, as well as the $165 billion underfunded private-sector plans, union bosses know three things: 1) their system is about to blow up in their faces by likely bankrupting certain states and municipalities, 2) they need to change the system which, to them means a nationalized retirement plan for all Americans, and 3) they must do everything possible to retain as many Democrat seats as possible so that they may live on to fight another day. But, they're not going down without a fight:
The Service Employees International Union is dispatching members to town hall meetings to defend pensions. They hand out literature arguing that 7 out of 10 retired public employees receive less than $30,000 a year in pension benefits. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees is calling politicians "deadbeats" for trying to walk away from promised pensions. "This is deferred compensation that is owed to workers," says Steven Kreisberg, director of collective bargaining for AFSCME, which has 1.6 million members. "Some of the politicians demagoguing on this issue are losing sight of their moral and legal responsibility."
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported:
The National Education Association, the largest U.S. teachers union, has independently spent more than $3.4 million that must be disclosed, including ad buys and direct-mail campaigns, for the key electioneering period from Sept. 1 to Oct. 14. The NEA spent $444,000 during the same stretch in 2006.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has nearly matched its 2006 midterm outlays. It has spent $2.1 million on electioneering since the beginning of last month, according to FEC filings for two campaign committees associated with the union. That is just shy of the $2.2 million spent for that period in 2006.
The American Federation of Teachers, the country's other big teachers union, also has stepped up its outlays. The group had spent about $5.5 million this cycle as of the end of August, according to the FEC. The AFT's total for the same period during 2006 was $4.5 million.
Remember, this is only the money that must be disclosed.
As Brandon Griefe of the CRNC wrote here on RedState:
Public sector unions have been an incredible lobbying force, working from the inside out to push for more lavish pension packages for government workers. One of the biggest public sector unions is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have openly declared that they have the power to determine elections. The AFSCME was the biggest election spender between 1989 and 2004. They spent over $40 million in federal elections, with an astounding 98.5% going to Democrats. Victor Gotbaum, former lead of AFSCME District Council 37, once declared “we have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss.” Any efforts measures to curb growth are immediately met with hostility. The California Teachers Association spent $57m to stop a referendum to limit government growth and to reduce union power.
With slightly more than two weeks left before November 2nd, union bosses and their bought-and-paid for Democratic party will be unleashing a barrage of phony and misleading ads against Republican candidates across the country. The reason is simple, they must destroy whatever obstacles remain in their path to achieving their ultimate goals.
They were within inches and they will spend whatever it takes to blunt the trauma of November 2nd, but they can be pushed back.
Now, go and get out the vote.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.