Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870

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...