21.7.04

Look For the Union Label

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts: "While parties rely on voluntary donations to fund their activities, labor unions benefit from laws, regulations and court precedents that help to transfer billions of dollars each year from workers to accounts controlled by labor's politically active (and left-wing) leadership. Since the passage of the Wagner Act in 1934, unions have had the power to charge workers dues and fees in exchange for representing them in the workplace. Yet 'workplace' appears to be an expansive term. Since the 1960s--and especially since the mid-1990s, when John Sweeney took over at the AFL-CIO--unions have diverted more and more money to politics and policy.

Union officials claim that they are merely representing the interests of their members. But which members? Each year millions of Republican workers are forced to watch as part of their earnings go to candidates they would never vote for at the ballot box. While fewer than half of America's union members are Democrats, more than 90% of union political action supports Democrats."
I've never been in a union, but I can sympathize with the anger and frustration many of these workers must feel. It's one thing to go to the opera or other cultural institution and see your company's name as a supporter. It's another to know that your company supports a candidate or policy that you, yourself, do not support. When I worked for a very small firm based in NY and NJ, I was appalled to find that some of the profits (such as they were) were going to support NJ GOP candidates. While I have no problem with my boss using what was, essentially, his money to do so, for him to do so using the company name was wrong.

It's much the same with United Way. Some companies support it to the extent of making donations in the name of the employee, and others pressure employees into giving. If the policy is to meet/match donations to charity (for example, your college's Annual Fund or the March of Dimes), then there's an equality to the system. But to pre-determine where your money goes? That's a bad policy and one that should be challenged and questioned by all.

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