Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do You Find It Odd That Labor Unions Contribue Huge Sums of Money To Republicans?


Lately we've looked at how the plutocrats behind the Republican Party have worked to destroy unions and the union movement and at these same plutocrats' disregard for even the lives of workers and their families. So why do unions contribute so many millions of dollars to Republican candidates for Congress? Does that shock you? It shouldn't-- and if you've been reading DWT regularly, it wouldn't. In June we looked out how the AFL-CIO's building trades unions were spending more money to help Republican House candidates than they were on helping Democratic House candidates. And just a week ago we saw how even virulently anti-union sociopaths like Peter Roskam (R-IL) have been able to sound on support from labor unions year after year.

The other day an AFL-CIO spokesperson attacked Blue America for backing a Democratic candidate who appears to be too far to the left for some unions. I know when I participated in a Beltway "veal pen" group over the course of the congressional campaign this year, we never once endorsed a single candidate-- not even ONE-- mostly (though not exclusively) because of vetoes from the AFL-CIO. I noticed that more serious unions like the Steel Workers and UAW stopped participating once it became clear that the AFL-CIO was bound by the vetoes of the Building Trades unions. The AFL-CIO itself wasn't necessarily opposed to the candidates; but their right-wing leaning building trades unions were always concerned about money they could get from anti-environmental Republicans and corrupt, conservative Democrats.

Here's the list of congressional candidates the AFL-CIO's building trades unions have given to so far this cycle. Keep in mind as you read it that every Republican elected to Congress helps maintain the virulently anti-labor/anti-working families Boehner and Cantor in their positions running the House. Overall, our friends in the Building Trades have given $147,525 to Democratic House candidates and, slightly less, $134,500, to Republican House candidates. But we should look at these numbers a little more closely.

First of all 13 of 76 Democrats who got contributions are reactionaries who vote frequently with the Republicans, including Blue Dogs Dan Boren (Oklahoma), Sanford Bishop (GA), Leonard Boswell (IA), David Crooks (IN), Gary McDowell (MI), Brendan Mullen (IN), Sal Pace (CO), and Kurt Shrader (OR). And these are the 4 biggest recipients of Building Trades largesse this cycle:
Steve LaTourette (R-OH)- $8,000
Jon Runyan (R-NJ)- $7,500
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)- $7,500
Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-Gambino)- $6,500
I also noticed on the list that the Building Trades Unions are funding right-wing, anti-union Republicans against pro-union progressive Democrats. These are the worst instances:
  • Chip Cravaack (R-MN) vs Rick Nolan
  • Michael Fitzpatrick vs Kathy Bookvar

  Jim Gerlach vs Manan Trivedi

  Nan Hayworth vs Sean Patrick Maloney

  Mike Kelly (R-PA) vs Missa Eaton

  Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) vs Wanda Rohl

  David McKinley (R-WV) vs Sue Thorn

  • David Rivera (R-FL) vs Joe Garcia

  Steve Stivers (R-OH) vs Pat Lang

  Fred Upton (R-MI) vs Mike O'Brien
And one dishonorable mention-- the Building Trades bosses decided to give deadbeat dad and right-wing sociopath Joe Walsh (R-IL) $3,500 in his battle against Tammy Duckworth, a moderate Democrat who is demonstrably pro-union. In way of contrast, let me point to the SEIU which has contributed $733,603 to House Democratic candidates this cycle and $250 to a sole Republican (Steve LaTourette). Or how about the savviest union I've run across-- the United Steelworkers. The contributed $469,250 to 66 Democrats running for the House. And they gave the exact amount of dollar to the exact number of Republicans who deserve it. Zero dollars/zero Republicans.

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At 2:33 PM, Blogger redrelic17 said...

They are even worse in local races. The AFL-CIO endorsed State Representative Tom Killion, a leader of the far-right wing of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. In fact, unions are an impediment to Democratic fortunes in Philadelphia suburbs - they support Republican party machine candidates. It's infuriating.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Suzan said...

Money has always spoken loudly.

Seems that I remember wondering about Nixon's union connections back in the 60's.

And if they had ties to the Daley Chicago machine.

But I was a pre-teen for much of this time and can hardly remember the names - only the smarmy faces and big bellies.

Thanks for your timely reporting!

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Graeme said...

I'm intrigued by this and would like to know more. As an architect, I have always been aware that, with the money in the construction industry the opportunities for corruption were rife (recalling the Montreal Olympics and now the Charbonneau inquiry here in Canada)but I had never really given much thought about the building trade unions. In my youth I had always thought of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters when I thought about corruption in the unions.

At 4:13 AM, Anonymous me said...

As a former member of a building trades union, I am appalled at what these people are doing. Yet I am not surprised. While I support unions, and am very glad for their support on several occasions, I remember union higher-ups (same as politicians) often acting much more in their own interests than in the members'.

I remember one contract vote in particular that we - that is, the members - were convinced was absolutely fraudulent. We felt that union officers were taking bribes from those they were supposed to be protecting us from.

I reiterate my support for unions. But the Teamsters' support of that scumbag Nixon was disgraceful.


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