On Labor Day, Organized Labor’s Misplaced Priorities

By September 4, 2006Labor Unions

While the WaPo and the rest of the MSM opine on misplaced priorities more imagined than real this Labor Day, they ought to turn their focus on the AFL-CIO. Indeed, their priorities have wandered so far from where they started that they are well-nigh non-existent. As we noted last week, this year for the first time, they didn’t even attempt a Labor Day report. They left that to their amen chorus over at EPI, and focused instead on announcing a $40 million effort to help the Democrats win House, Senate and Governors’ races in November. This comes after many hundreds of millions that went before, all down the same rat hole.

And so we wondered: If the AFL-CIO was really a labor movement, and not a political movement, where might they put this money? That is, if they were more concerned about the welfare of their members than the featherbedding of their own jobs, how might they be able to help those members? And so we checked out the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey and did a little long division. In case you’re wondering, here’s what $40 million would buy:

— Pay the mortgage for one year for 2500 of their members who are out of work or on strike, or a month’s mortgage for 30,000 of them;

— Food for almost 6,000 members and their families for a year;

— Health care for 16,000 members and their families for a year;

— Utilities for 13,000 members and their families for a year.

Instead, the $40 million will go to support causes and candidates with which the majority of their members don’t agree. How do we know that? According to noted pollster John Zogby:

“I asked voters whether the AFL-CIO spoke for them when they went to the polls. The answers produced a real surprise: Among unionized likely voters, just 27% said the AFL-CIO spoke for them all or most of the time…. In fact, nearly as many unionized workers (23%) said the Republicans spoke for them as said the AFL-CIO.”

In his most recent poll on the topic, Zogby found that “a 56% majority of workers who are not organized wouldn’t vote to organize — while just 35% would consider doing so.” And, there’s even worse news for labor in this Zogby poll. Gee, wonder why…?

We’ve said it before, will say it again: Maybe some day union members will get wise to this grifters’ game and say, “No mas.” Maybe they’ll exercise their right under the law to ask for a refund of that portion of their money that is now going down the rat hole.

Until then, union leaders in Washington will continue to fritter away hard-earned dues money on causes which their members have long since abandoned — if they ever supported at all.

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