Labor Unions usually favor the Democratic Party, but this Labor Unions are unusually desperate to prevent a take-over of the house by the Republican Party. With the Union Pension plans about to “crash and burn” the last thing union leaders want is conservatives running the show. And keep in mind the unions are still fighting for card check. “Card Check” is crucially important to the unions so they can get thousands of new people to pay into the pension plans to hep fill the coffers, kind of like a Ponzi scheme.
With all that in mind its no wonder that the AFL-CIO is planning its biggest political campaign ever this year in 2010, even surpassing the $53 million spent in 2008 to help elect President Barack Obama.
Trying to avert a Republican takeover of both the House and Senate in the November midterm elections, the labor federation is focusing on a “firewall” of six states with key congressional elections and relatively high numbers of union households: California, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“We will help to create a firewall so that more conservatives aren’t elected, so there won’t be a 1994 situation,” said Karen Ackerman, political director of the AFL-CIO. Ackerman said unions are still studying implications of the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance decision and how unions can partner with other activist groups.
Republican victories in the Massachusetts Senate race and elsewhere have worried union officials. But they also say they see an opportunity to make a populist pitch to voters angered by bank bailouts, an approach that also could work against Democrats who voted for the legislation.
This year, the federation plans to take a tougher stance with Democrats who have not supported labor’s agenda – starting with Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO said it will endorse Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who announced Monday he would challenge Lincoln in the Democratic primary this May.
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand,” said Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and chairman of the AFL-CIO’s political committee. McEntee said that AFSCME, the Communications Workers of America and the Service Employees International Union already have pledged to spend $1 million each in support of Halter. He said Halter himself had said he needs $5 million to run his campaign and has so far raised $1 million.
Katie Laning Niebaum, Lincoln’s campaign spokeswoman, noted that the senator’s lifetime voting record with the AFL-CIO is 82%. “While she hasn’t agreed with organized labor on every issue, she has always given their priorities a fair hearing and careful consideration,” she said. As for labor’s opposition in the primary, she said “we find their endorsement and fund-raising efforts puzzling.”
Lincoln, who has had labor’s backing in the past, opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it far easier for unions to organize workers, and the nomination of union-lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker’s confirmation has been held up in the Senate, and unions have been pushing the White House for a recess appointment.
I am sure that most union members would prefer that their management take the millions of dollars they intend to spend on campaigns and use it instead to help fund the deficit on their pension plans.