Mark Mix

As millions of Americans take a well-earned break over the long Labor Day weekend, organized labor will be working overtime to influence this November’s pivotal mid-term elections.

Disregarding last year’s largely symbolic split triggered by differences over whether to spend money on politics or coercive organizing programs, union elites within the so-called “Change to Win” coalition and the AFL-CIO recently pledged their unity in the 2006 election cycle. In fact, not only have the two groups pledged to share mailing lists and contributions, but they also vowed to work hand-in-glove at the local level, mobilizing armies and paid “volunteers” for their hand-picked candidates.

Mounting a zealous effort to install a majority in Congress sympathetic to expanding forced unionism privileges, the AFL-CIO recently earmarked an unprecedented $40 million dedicated to the 2006 mid-term election cycle. The amount eclipses the mark the AFL-CIO spent on the last mid-term cycle in 2004 which totaled over $30 million.

This, however, is the tip of the iceberg.

To most, the true reach and power behind union officials’ electioneering remains unknown. Money spent by union-fronted political action committees – far in excess of $100 million for federal races last year – is just the beginning. The real prize possession is the $800 million forced-union-dues war chest spent on basic political organizing, including voter identification activities, get out the vote drives, literature drops, cleverly-crafted issue ads, and boiler room phone banks.

Meanwhile, polls consistently show that more than 60 percent of union members oppose any use of union dues for electioneering. A McLaughlin & Associates research company poll indicates the number of workers unaware of their right to withhold mandatory dues for politics stood at 67 percent. And history indicates over 40 percent of union members will likely not vote for the candidates anointed by their union hierarchy.

In spite of these numbers, Big Labor enjoys the most corrupt aspect of America’s political system: the special privilege to force millions of workers to pay union dues as a job condition. More than $8 billion annually in forced union dues alone flows to union officials from workers who would lose their jobs if they refused to pay, much of it funneled towards maintaining and expanding this special privilege.

Mark Mix

Mark Mix is President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

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