AFL-CIO Chief Pleading for Union Support of Dems in Nov.

-By Warner Todd Huston

The AFL-CIO plans to spend another $50 million coming to the aid of Democrats during this campaign season for the 2010 midterms. But all is not well in uniondom as many unions are very, very unhappy with various and sundry Democrat candidates across the country.

Still, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka has issued a call to arms for the Democrats anyway. “We know you’re angry,” Trumka said to his membership. “We know you’re frustrated. We know we haven’t achieved everything that we worked for. But we’ve made progress, and we have to keep it going.”

Unions are a smaller political constituency than ever before, however, with only about 12% of America’s workforce being unionized. Despite the hundreds of millions that unions gave Democrats in the 2008 election cycle, their diminished numbers may have made some small dent in the once Pavlovian response that Democrat politicians had to the union beck-and-call. Despite the money, the votes are not there like they once were.

On top of that, unions have contributed to the crashing economy and the debt laden state budgets and at an ever increasing rate, even Democrats are being forced by reality to confront the union problem in the economy. Unions are detrimental to the bottom line in both the private and public sector — especially the public — and everyone is beginning to see it plain as day.

Unions have been so mad at their once slavishly lapdog Democrat Party that some Democrats even found unions opposing their reelection campaigns. In the Arkansas primary, for instance, unions heavily criticized Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln and even worked against her in some cases. In North Carolina the unions there even banded together to try and create a whole new political party abandoning North Carolina’s Democrats (the attempt failed, the state would not certify the new party as legit). And those aren’t the only two examples.

But Trumka knows that his only hope is to keep electing Democrats. Even though Democrats are increasingly wary of unions and the damage they do, Democrats are still far more welcoming to union meddling than Republicans, truth be told. So, even as their hand is weakened, Trumka knows that his only chance to push the left-wing agenda is to rely on the Democrat Party.

But union’s days in America seem numbered at the very least.

Far from getting cocky, though, Republicans should understand that Democrats will easily return true to form of unionism if things seem politically advantageous to do so. With the economy in the tank and state budgets in the red in nearly every state, unions are at low ebb but constant pressure must be applied, especially on public employees unions to further weaken them.

One thing that should be emphasized is that public employees unions are not that old an idea. They never existed prior to the the late 1950s and their power was slight until the 1990s. Due to the decision of New York Mayor Wagner to allow public employee unions and JFK, whose Executive Order 10998 allowed collective bargaining for federal employees, these unions have grown to the menace they are today. The undemocratic nature of pubic employees unions does not have to be a permanent fixture as they are relatively new to government. This fact is important.

But the most important point to reiterate is that the cycle of influence peddling between unions and Democrat politicians is entirely anti-democratic and obviates the representative nature of our Republic. Unions give millions to Democrats to get them elected, Democrats then pass laws favorable to unions, unions then give more to Democrats who pass even more favorable rules and laws for unions, etc., etc. and the worms turns, and turns in a never ending cycle. Notice who is completely cut out of this cycle of influence? The voters. Public employee unions are antithetical to good government because of this unbreakable cycle of political favors and pocket filling donations excludes any power of the voters to affect their own government.

But the crash is here. These practices have destroyed fiscal reality for our federal, state, and city governments and as we continue pressing the matter unions are losing the battle to keep their ill-gotten power.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001