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Press Release

    Political and Grassroots Power of the Organized Left

    11/06/2001

    "That the U.S. labor movement has experienced a resurgence of enthusiasm, greater visibility, and increased political power in the last five years [1995-2000] is indisputable."

    - Labor Research Association 2000

    "According to the AFL-CIO, unions actually organized some 600,000 new members" [in 1999]. – Labor Research Association of 2000

    In Michigan members of union households accounted for 43% of all voters in the 2000 elections. And, they were given the day-off to vote. In the 2000 elections voters from union households represented 26 percent of the vote overall, according to the polls, but only 13.5 percent of the workforce.

    Top ten states with most union members includes California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, with nearly 10 million union members combined. Importantly, these states carry a total of 238 electoral votes.

    Estimates of total union spending on politics are as high as half a billion dollars every election cycle. – National Institute for Labor Relations Research

    During the 2000 elections, union volunteer activists had:

    Registered 2.3 million new union household voters.

    Made 8 million phone calls to union households.

    Distributed more than 14 million leaflets at union worksites.

    E-mailed some 60,000 E-VOTE cards urging people to vote.

    Supported 901 union members running for office.

    And, through Labor 2000 an campaign mobilization effort of the AFL-CIO, working families' unions:

    Mobilized more than 100,000 union volunteers to get out the vote from Miami to Seattle, from San Diego to Boston and from Austin to Detroit.

    Trained more than 1,000 Labor 2000 coordinators for worksites, local unions, central labor councils and state federations.

    Sent more than 12 million pieces of literature to union households from the national AFL-CIO alone.

    Non-Union Organization of the Left: This includes, but is by no means limited to: National Organization for Women (NOW), League of Women Voters (LWV), National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth (FOE).

    While these groups aren’t blessed with compulsory dues, they organize locally by enlisting like-minded activists to recruit, coordinate and mobilize their communities to participate in national efforts.

    For example, according to their website, the League of Women Voters claims to have a staffed and active chapter in every state in the union and 38 of those 52 have more than one local level office in the state. Similarly, the Sierra Club boasts 47 separate state offices, not including 13 in California alone, and 4 in Canada. They also have a subsidiary “student-run coalition” of liberals from America’s colleges and universities that they organize and mobilize regularly.

    A top-ten listing of Union PAC contributions during the 1997-1998 election cycle:

    Union
    Parent Union
    Total
    Democrat
    Republican

    American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees
    American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees
    $2,374,950
    $2,271,950
    $95,500

    Teamsters Union
    Teamsters Union
    $2,183,250
    $2,026,450
    $151,800

    United Auto Workers
    United Auto Workers
    $1,915,460
    $1,885,460
    $20,000

    Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
    Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
    $1,885,970
    $1,812,560
    $71,410

    National Education Assn
    National Education Assn
    $1,853,390
    $1,751,540
    $97,850

    National Assn of Letter Carriers
    National Assn of Letter Carriers
    $1,763,496
    $1,458,996
    $297,000

    Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union
    Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union
    $1,637,300
    $1,611,800
    $20,500

    United Food & Commercial Workers Union

    $1,505,951
    $1,457,651
    $37,300

    Laborers Political League
    Laborers Union
    $1,415,850
    $1,255,850
    $156,500

    American Federation of Teachers
    American Federation of Teachers

    Total Union Contributions to Federal Candidates
    $45,253,080
    $40,966,861
    $4,162,944

    While each group may differ in size and effectiveness, each and every one of them has one thing in common: a well-funded and highly partisan PAC. For instance:

    Political
    political organizations - liberal
    DEM Total
    REP Total
    OTHER Total

    AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION INC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
    $173,305
    $0
    $0

    NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR AN EFFECTIVE CONGRESS
    $969,000
    $0
    $0

    PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY VOTERS ALLIANCE (PFAW VOTERS ALLIANCE OR PFAW VA)
    $188,276
    $2,500
    $0

    NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE - PAC
    $652,767
    $171,004
    $1,000

    Political
    political organizations - women's groups
    DEM Total
    REP Total
    OTHER Total

    EMILY'S LIST
    $222,101
    $0
    $0

    NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (NOW/PAC)
    $232,240
    $1,000
    $0

    NATIONAL ABORTION AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ACTION LEAGUE PAC
    $463,621
    $29,699
    $0

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND INC PAC (PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERAL PAC)
    $365,800
    $28,183
    $0

    Derived from latest data key-punched into FEC databases as of 11/1/2001...