- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2002

The bosses of Big Labor are once again snatching members' dues to subsidize their political organ: the Democratic Party. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and the presidents of virtually all of the AFL-CIO's 66 member unions recently voted to assess their organizations additional political fees totaling nearly $20 million over three years.
The latest assessment, an ostensibly nominal 4 cents per month for each union member, will cumulatively generate more than $500,000 per month, given the fact that there are 13 million members of unions belonging to the AFL-CIO. Added to previous assessments, this latest charge will enable the labor federation to finance its $35 million political campaign for the current two-year political cycle culminating with the November elections for Congress.
In keeping with AFL-CIO tradition, the assessments are mandatory and will flow almost completely to the Democratic Party and its candidates. The 33 to 40 percent of union members who usually vote Republican are thus forced to subsidize candidates and a party they oppose.
In 1994, the year Republicans won control of both houses of Congress, members of union households played a decisive role. According to the extensive exit polling conducted by Voter News Service and reported in the New York Times, about 40 percent of voters from union households who comprised 25 percent of the electorate rejected the pleas of the bosses and voted for Republican House candidates. In the next three biennial congressional elections (1996, 1998 and 2000), the AFL-CIO required special assessments comparable to the current charges to finance $35 million special campaigns. These were orchestrated by AFL-CIO political executive Gerald McEntee, who also heads the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the home base for some of the nation's most corrupt union locals.
Each of the AFL-CIO's three post-1994 special campaigns failed to return Democratic majorities in either house, in large part because millions of voters from union households continued to reject the electoral endorsements of their labor bosses. That, however, had no effect on the manner in which Messrs. Sweeney and McEntee spent the obligatory assessments.
But should the day ever come when that 40 percent or so of union workers are able to effectively organize against the entrenched bosses, the precedent of coerced political contributions could be used to cut off the life-giving money spigot to the Democratic Party.
Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your union bosses.


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