Worker Benefits Mortgaged for Political Contributions?

Katie Gage

10/11/2010 3:36:32 PM - Katie Gage

Since the beginning of the 2008 cycle, Big Labor has donated more than $500 million to political campaigns, with an overwhelming majority of that going to Members of Congress and candidates for Federal office who support their job-killing policies. Now, less than one month away from Election Day, these same union bosses are not backing down from their aggressive commitment to elect labor-friendly candidates and continue to increase their political spending, while their own members – many of whom worked the line for decades paying into pension programs – fail to receive the benefits they were promised and have earned.

Mismanaged pension plans and poorly run budgets have left workers across the country struggling to make ends meet, while union officers and bosses are living high on the hog. Focused on promoting an agenda which results in lost jobs and bail outs, the goal of Big Labor bosses is clear: line their own pockets.

Studies have emerged over the past two years showing how grossly under-funded many union pension plans are, some even falling into critical status under federal evaluations. Unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) that have been the most vocal and public about their contributions to elect like-minded candidates, and they are some of the very same ones whose pension plans are struggling the most. Lacking the financial wherewithal or concern to follow through on their word, bosses are instead choosing to spend hard-earned dues on posh officer retreats and political campaigns aimed at making unionization not just easier, but forced.

We’ve seen how Big Labor has been able to leverage its relationship with the Obama Administration to finagle pro-union boss and anti-worker rules through government agencies, most recently with the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) rule change on union elections in airline and railroad industries, which overturned a 75 year old voting precedent. Also consider Craig Becker, President Obama’s appointee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) who is a former attorney for the SEIU and AFL-CIO, yet refuses to recuse himself from cases that involve these two unions.

And as Congress continues to fight off a floor vote on the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA), which would strip workers of their right to a private ballot in the unionization process while exposing them to intimidation and coercion, Big Labor puts its money into electing candidates who will advance the job-killing EFCA.

While Americans are struggling to climb out of their own, current economic situations, we unfortunately are seeing Big Labor bosses spending workers’ pensions on political ads and campaign contributions. By trying to elect allies who will take their agenda to Washington, D.C., Big Labor hopes to ultimately gain more union members via forced unionization so they can collect even more dues to reward their friends and punish their enemies. But if the past few years are any indication, these bosses are not only short sighted, but negligent as they are spending money they don’t have in hopes of receiving payback, while digging a deeper hole in relation to their liabilities and debts.

As Big Labor’s political spending machine rolls on, the American public is not fooled. They understand these union bosses expect a return on their investment meaning job-killing legislation, but in the process, they are mortgaging the hard-earned benefits of their own workers.