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This Labor Day, unions across the country will seize the opportunity to highlight their “pro-worker” achievements. But amid the holiday’s barbecues and beach trips, we shouldn’t forget the millions of dollars in members’ dues unions have sent to political causes over the years, without the consent — or sometimes even the knowledge — of workers.
Public-sector unions alone have sent more than $1.5 billion of members’ dues to political causes during the last 20 years.
What’s worse, if workers wanted to see exactly how unions spent that money politically, they’d have to sift through state or federal campaign finance disclosures. Unlike private-sector unions, public unions are not required to report their political contributions to the Department of Labor.
Fortunately on PublicUnionFacts.com, public workers can now easily search their union’s political spending history. In addition to political donations for almost 5,000 unions, workers can see just how biased union political spending is: 90% of money sent to candidates or parties over the last 20 years has gone to Democrats.
Union members deserve to know how their hard-earned dues are spent. With more transparency going forward, maybe labor’s political advocacy will start to reflect the ideological makeup of workers, and not just the interests of union leaders.
The writer is communications director for the Center for Union Facts.