Over the weekend, The Oregonian posted a genuinely disturbing piece on union political activism at the state and local level. According to the article, union officials poured massive amounts of money and resources into nearly every Oregon election this past May. The results were truly staggering (emphasis mine):
"Most candidates with union backing won . . . The net result was a monster victory for labor groups that helped solidify their role as one of the state's top power brokers.
Unions played key roles in statewide victories for secretary of state candidate Kate Brown attorney general candidate John Kroger and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley. But they also got involved locally, helping Sam Adams win the Portland mayoral contest, Democrat Michael Dembrow win the House District 45 primary in Northeast Portland, and Dennis Doyle oust Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake.
The outcome left Republicans grumbling about the increasing influence of unions in state government. And it left little doubt that labor's agenda will get red-carpet treatment when the 2009 Legislature meets in January."
Unfortunately, Big Labor's success at the state and local level foreshadows what could be an even more impressive showing in national elections this November. As the most recent issue of Foundation Action (subscribe now - it's free!) explains, unions are going for " . . . the trifecta: the House, the Senate, and the White House," according to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) head Gerald McEntee.
From a recent Wall Street Journal article, the scope of union political activism is truly astounding, even for an election year (emphasis mine):
"The AFL-CIO has approved a record political budget of $53 million to help fund 200,000 union workers on the street. Its affiliated national and international unions have pledged another $200 million. The National Education Association will throw $40 million to $50 million at races. The Service Employees International Union has marked off $100 million for politics, and intends to pay 2,000 union members the equivalent of their salaries to work on Democratic campaigns. Add in union money for federal or state political action committees, for 527s, and for local and state races, and some astute members of the business community – those who have seen this coming “tsunami” (as one puts it) – estimate union political spending may top $1 billion in 2008."
Big Labor's political priorities include an even more pliant NLRB and passage of the misleadingly-titled "Employee Free Choice Act," a piece of legislation that would allow union bosses to bypass secret ballot elections in favor of shady "card-check" organizing drives. If Oregon is a harbinger of Big Labor's coming political ascendancy, America and particularly lovers of freedom will be facing a dark period.