Think Unions Are Politically Powerful Now? Just Wait Till After Card Check
It's always nice for politicians when they can pass legislation that will result in more campaign donations for them. A union-backed bill moving through Congress would result in a lot more campaign money for those politicians who support it. But workers and business owners would stand to lose their freedoms and jobs in the process.
The bill being pushed so hard by Big Labor is named the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The name is seriously misleading. Instead of promoting employees' freedom, it would remove secret ballot protections workers currently enjoy during union elections and empower federal bureaucrats to impose contracts on employers and workers without their consent. There's no "free choice" in this bill. A more accurate title would be the Employee "Forced" Choice Act.
Supporters and opponents disagree on many aspects of this legislation, but the one thing they both agree on is that if EFCA becomes law, more workers will join unions. When you force workers to sign up for unions out in the open in front of union officials and their fellow workers, as this bill would require, it should be obvious that unionization rates would increase. Sure, it may be the result of intimidation and/or coercion, but unions will grow.
With this increased unionization also comes increased revenue from union dues. As the number of private-sector workers joining unions has declined since the 1950s, the amount of money flowing into union coffers has begun to dry up. EFCA would serve as a bailout on the backs of small businesses and change that -- dramatically.
A significant amount of the new money to which labor bosses would have access would be directed to political activity. Union executives spend heavily on elections to make sure their allies are rewarded and enemies punished. With more members, Big Labor will have a lot more money to pass around to their politician friends.
How much more money are we talking about? A new study by the Workforce Fairness Institutes (WFI) estimates that if EFCA becomes law, over the next ten years union bosses will have an additional $1.7 billion to spend on political activity. This study also shows that past union political donations -- not surprisingly -- have gone overwhelmingly to politicians who supported EFCA. There is no reason to think this would change in the future.
This huge amount of new spending on the political process will definitely have an effect. To provide some perspective, consider that in the 2008 presidential campaign, which broke the record for election spending, then-Senator Barack Obama spent $780 million.
Handing over $1.7 billion over to union bosses to spend on federal, state, and local races will give labor the ability to monopolize political spending on the part of third parties in many candidate contests and campaigns advocating policy initiatives.
No one should assume that the increased influence of these labor leaders will actually help average workers. Look at EFCA. While it is promoted as being good for employees, its removal of employee secret ballot protections and its provision to force employees to accept any contract mandated by a federal arbitrator are certainly not pro-worker. No, union leaders having used their clout to push the Employee "Forced" Choice Act to swell their ranks would use the increase in dues to push a political agenda many workers disagree with.
Union bosses and their political allies stand to do very well under EFCA. The bosses get more money and more power, while the politicians get more contributions and campaign spending on their behalf. All this comes at the expense of workers and businesses. It's time to remind politicians that they work for the people not Big Labor, and promoting job-killing legislation that limits our freedoms is not acceptable under any circumstances.