The following is an excerpt from our Saturday email, which includes our musings on the latest developments impacting public employees, links to that week’s labor news, and a collection of whimsical reads for your weekend. If you’d like to receive our weekly email, you can use the sign-up form at the bottom of this page. We promise to respect your inbox, and we will never share your email address.
When it comes to 2022 midterm election spending, the numbers are staggering.
Campaign contributions are expected to top $9.3 billion, and spending by outside groups is record-breaking for a midterm election at $1.3 billion.
Much of this money and support is coming from Big Labor, specifically unions representing government employees.
Four government unions – AFSCME, AFT, NEA, and SEIU – together donate tens of millions of dollars each year to the Political Action Committees (PACs) that make up those $1.3 billion in outside expenditures.
These unions take money from their members all over the country to fund political races in completely different states, far removed from the employees they supposedly represent.
On top of the documented spending, unions spend their time and resources to support politicians. Just this week and days before the election, New York State Public Employee Federation held a convention—paid for by member dues money—that felt more like a campaign rally for Democrats than anything else.
Big Labor is one of the largest and most powerful special interest groups in the country, and they have become a training ground for progressive activists who have used their influence to push the Democratic Party to the left.
Unions have even targeted moderate Democrats in primary elections, both by funding progressive organizations who target moderates or by promoting left-leaning candidates who take on moderate Democrats through the union-funded Working Families Party.
By pushing Democrats to the left on economic and social issues, unions and other progressive activists have left the party out of step with many voters.
It doesn’t look like Biden or other Democrats will push back on the union’s power over their party anytime soon. If anything, Biden is focused on ways to increase their power over the political left. He also recognizes that it was partially because of union money that he was elected president in the first place.
“You’re a gigantic reason why I’m standing here—standing here today as your President,” he said in remarks to the AFL-CIO. “I really mean it. I owe you.”