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Labor unions push agenda in 2022 midterm elections

As voters go the polls next week, they will be inundated with ballot propositions. The number of ballot propositions in several states is in the double digits, including Colorado’s 11 ballot measures, all of which cover a wide range of subjects from state income tax rates to liquor licenses. Just as unions devote millions of dollars to political races and PACs, they are also heavily involved in ballot measures across the country.

New Yorkers will vote on a union-backed statewide proposition called Proposition 1, known as the “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond.” Multiple unions and affiliated organizations support a “yes” vote on the bond, such as New York State AFL-CIO and New York State Laborers’ Union.

According to one estimate, the bond’s passage could cost New Yorkers $4.2 billion.

In Colorado, Proposition FF creates and funds a school meal program called the ‘Healthy School Meals for All Program’ by changing Coloradan’s income tax deduction amounts to subsidize the program. Axios reported that Proposition FF “aims to increase taxes to provide free school meals” and pointed out the proposition is “also a tax hike at a time of economic constraint.”

A coalition website in support of Proposition FF lists the American Federation of Teachers’ Colorado chapter as a main backer of the ballot proposition.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, SEIU United Healthcare is pushing Proposition 209, which would place a cap on interest rates on debt accrued from healthcare services. At least one of the proposition’s advertisements highlight medical debt as the focus of the proposition, but opponents point out that the proposition’s broad wording could incentivize not paying back any type of debt.

In Illinois, unions are pushing for Amendment 1, which would radically change public unions’ collective bargaining powers. AFFT covered the amendment last month and explained the potential fallout for workers if Amendment 1 passes.

Spencer Irvine

Spencer Irvine is Senior Writer & Researcher at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Spencer previously worked in state government, in communications for a non-profit advocacy organization, and held various administrative and communications roles at a media analysis organization. He has a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University. He lives in Arizona with his wife, is an avid history buff and enjoys touring historic sites.