For Union Members, The Same Old Story

By July 23, 2006Labor Unions

Interesting front page story in Friday’s USA Today by Jill Lawrence entitled, “After ‘rocky’ start, revamped unions rev up political activity.” Of course, union membership isn’t increasing nationally, but apparently they feel stronger after the AFL-CIO split in two last year — and they’re certainly flushing a lot of their members’ hard-earned money on down the political rat hole.

The article and a related one notes that in fact, they’re raising more money than ever, noting that in the last 18 months, the breakaway SEIU has raised about $15 million to give to candidates while the AFL affiliate AFSCME has raised $9.1 million. The AFL-CIO plans on spending $40 million of its member’s money, according to the story. it also notes a fact that we’ve mentioned here before as well, that unions spent some $100 million — a hundred million dollars — to defeat several ballot initiatives in California.

The story quotes AFSCME’s Gerry McEntee as saying that their members are “motivated” for this year’s elections, “in part because the GOP-controlled Congress has not raised the minimum wage.” Right. This is called, “staying on message.”

Of course, not all union memnbers are as sunny in their outlook. According to the author of a piece entitled, “When ‘Union’ Becomes Little More than an Epithet” on the Oregon Workers Union website, “We hear ‘Change to Win’, but it sounds like more of the same and worse to us.”

Sadly, for union members across the country, despite the hype, they will see their numbers continue to grow and see their money continue to be wasted on causes they don’t believe in.