FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Why Unions Are Pouring Money Into Virginia & Why You Should Care
In a Right-to-Work state, union bosses are dumping a lot of money into defeating Ken Cuccinelli
Union bosses and other out-of-state liberals–from Hollywood to New York–are pouring millions into the Virginia governor’s race.
They are, without a doubt, hell-bent on defeating Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and putting long-time Democratic party boss and fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe into the governor’s seat.
More than that, however, the Left (just as they are targeting Texas and other Southern states) may be using the governor’s race to put the final nail in the coffin for Republicans in a state that has swung from reliably red to almost-but-not-quite blue.
While the polls in the seem to be tightening from a McAuliffe shoe-in to a too-close-to-call (were it not for the Libertarian candidate), according to the Washington Post, Democrat McAuliffe has collected $8 million more than Cuccinelli.
In addition to Democrat heavyweights like Bill Clinton ($100,000), Hollywood heavy hitters like the Weinstein Co. ($25,000) and noted author John Grisham ($75,000), Planned Parenthood donated over $1.5 million and many other liberal special interest groups have sent McAuliffe six-digit donations.
Given the amount of big out-of-state money and extraordinary efforts union bosses and their liberal cohorts are putting into the race, one must question how the Left will gain from a McAuliffe win.
Why are union bosses investing so heavily in Right-to-Work Virginia?
Last month, the AFL-CIO resolved at its convention to develop a Southern Strategy. The intention is not just to expand union membership but to expand their political influence.
As the Hill noted:
Labor will embark on an expansive organizing campaign in America’s union-scarce South that, if successful, could bring about serious political upheaval.
McAuliffe’s union ties go back a long way–all the way to the Clinton years–and he is known for rewarding his friends.
If McAuliffe wins, the biggest immediate threat to Virginia’s workers may be to their Right-to-Work. That is, workers’ right to work at a unionized company without being fired for failing to pay union dues.
While many think Virginia’s Right-to-Work status is safe even with a McAuliffe win, one need only look at Indiana or Michigan to see how quickly a state can flip from one to the other.
The reality is, if the state legislature becomes controlled by Democrats (either now or later), Virginia’s Right-to-Work status could go away with a simple vote or two in the statehouse and McAuliffe’s signature.
More importantly, though, McAuliffe has failed to state he would protect Virginia’s status as a right-to-work state. Union bosses would be ecstatic with a McAuliffe win and the possibility of stripping away Virginia’s Right-to-Work status.
In addition to the potential risk to Right-to-Work, as a recipient of big union money, as governor, McAuliffe would have the ability to steer public works projects to his union-boss allies through Project Labor Agreements.
Here is a summary of union money that has been donated to McAuliffe’s campaign efforts.
- $536,549 Service Employees International Union
- $390,106 United Steelworkers of America
- $343,530 American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- $250,000 Firefighters – International Assn
- $250,000 Laborers’ International Union of North America
- $200,000 United Food & Commercial Workers
- $150,000 Communication Workers of America
- $125,000 American Federation of Teachers
- $100,000 National Education Assn
- $50,000 United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry
- $50,000 United Steelworkers of America Dist 8
- $25,000 Machinists Non-Partisan Political League
- $25,000 Office and Professional Employees International Union Voice of Electorate PAC
- $20,000 Intl Brotherhood of Teamsters
- $20,000 Va AFL-CIO
- $15,000 International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
- $10,000 Intl Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen
- $10,000 Service Employees International Union – Local 32BJ
- $5,173 Va Education Assn
- $5,000 American Fed State County Mun Employees – Maryland Council 2
- $5,000 Firefighters – Local 2068
- $5,000 Intl Longshoremen’s Assn
- $5,000 National Rural Letter Carriers Assn
- $5,000 United Mineworkers of America (UMW)
- $5,000 Va Governmental Employees Assn
- $4,298 AFL-CIO
- $3,000 Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
The above, however, does not include television ad buys. For example, the National Education Association has bought over $519,000 in advertisements so far.
Writing on the United Steelworkers’ union expenditures, the National Right to Work Committee notes the difference between “in kind” support (which can be taken from union dues) and direct contributions to candidates (which cannot be taken without consent):
…since the end of August USWA kingpins have funneled nearly $300,000 in forced union dues-funded “in-kind” support to the McAuliffe campaign, plus $50,000 in cash. Of the “in-kind” support, $256,000 was donated in the form of “staff time” and “personnel costs.”
What that means is that forced-dues money forked over by USWA-controlled employees in states where the Right to Work is unprotected is being used to pay travel expenses, salaries, and benefits for union officials as they electioneer in Virginia.
As union bosses work at strengthening their toehold in the South, it appears that getting Terry McAuliffe elected in Virginia may be the first step in executing that strategy.
In sum, unions have nothing to lose if Cuccinelli wins and a heck of a lot to gain with a McAuliffe win.
If you want to help Ken Cuccinelli, there’s not a lot of time left. However, you can help by donating to his campaign, working the phones or, if you’re in Virginia, helping with Get Out The Vote efforts.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)