Unions splitting from Democrats in 2012, Trumka says

posted at 4:05 pm on August 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The media likes to push the notion that the Republican Party will split in two because of the Tea Party, but they may have missed a real split on the other side of the aisle.  AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka announced the creation of a union super-PAC that will “build our own structure” rather than “build structures for others.”  And by “others,” Trumka means the Democratic Party:

The growing rift between labor and their Democratic allies was on full display Thursday, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters that labor groups are planning to scale back their involvement with the Democratic Party in advance of the 2012 elections.

Going forward, Trumka said, the labor movement will build up its own political structures and organizations rather than contribute to and depend on the Democratic Party’s political operation. …

Labor has traditionally been a major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes around the country. Trumka said that their outside effort will help keep union-backed candidates more accountable for promises made on the campaign trail.

“Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election,” he said, explaining the union’s position.

“The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before,” said Trumka. “If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we are stronger.”

That’s not just an expression of disapproval with the Democratic Party.  It’s a public vote of no confidence.  Unions spent heavily in the 2010 midterm elections; they accounted for three of the top five high-spending outside groups in that cycle.  They also spent tens of millions of dollars in Wisconsin this year in an attempt to wrest control of the state Senate away from Republicans, and failed to achieve their objective.  Trumka’s comments make it clear that he doesn’t see a great prospect of electoral success in 2012, either.

Trumka also directly criticized Obama for his inaction on job creation:

“He’s going to give a speech in a couple of weeks on job creation,” Trumka told reporters. “If he’s talking about another percent or two break from a tax here and doing something with patent control, and doing three years down the road something with infrastructure bank, that’s not going to get the job done.”

This puts the AFL-CIO into a position where the creation of a third party is not just a theoretical possibility, but perhaps a likely outcome.  The Tea Party doesn’t have deep pockets for organization, but the unions have a mostly-mandated grip on the pockets of their members, thanks to closed-shop rules in many areas of the country.  They can generate hundreds of millions of dollars for elections and candidate recruitment, especially in areas of high union concentration.  Unions might not be strong enough to run their own presidential candidate, but they could win House seats and perhaps a few Senate seats as well, or more likely just provide a competitive third choice for voters.  In fact, there’s really no other way to read Trumka’s statement but as a threat to compete with the Democratic Party on their own terms.

And that’s where the Democratic Party will suffer most.  If unions start running well-funded alternative candidates, the vote will split and allow Republicans to make gains in Congress and in state legislatures.  Either Democrats will have to start endorsing union candidates or start falling hopelessly behind the GOP in power and influence.

Even if this turns into just a one-cycle phenomenon, it couldn’t come at a worse time for Obama.  In order to win a general election, Obama needs to run to his right — and in order to keep the union funding he desperately needs, he will have to move to his left.  Either way, Obama loses, as does his party.

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I’ll believe it when I see the contribution drop from the 95% that goes to the Dimocrats now…

Khun Joe on August 25, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Going forward, Trumka said, the labor movement will build up its own political structures and organizations rather than contribute to and depend on the Democratic Party’s political operation. …

Why does it need to do that? Isn’t the Communist Party USA still around? They’ve already got a strong base for Trumka’s world-view and some existing organization.

AZfederalist on August 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM

That’s great – pour all of your union funding into a PAC that has to report totals. That way everyone can see how much money union members are paying to fund what they’re funding. And in the case of public unions, what the taxpayers are funding.

disa on August 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka announced the creation of a union super-PAC that will “build our own structure” rather than “build structures for others.” And by “others,” Trumka means the Democratic Party

Right When pigs fly.

peacenprosperity on August 25, 2011 at 10:54 PM

This is simply a power play by Trumpka.

He is ticked at seeing the impotence of Democrats in fighting off Republican efforts to defang the unions. Problem is the public now realizes the disaster the Dem/Union backscratching has become. The unions have nowhere to go. A Labor party would be a disaster for both the Democrats and the AFL/CIO. There will be no third party.

FYI: Closed Shops (hiring halls) are illegal under Taft/Hartley. Union Shops are where an employee must become and remain a union member within a set period, usually 30 to 90 days. This allows management to select the employee, rather than the union. An Open Shop is where a company is organized, but union membership is not required. An Agency Shop is an open shop, but employees who opt out must pay a portion of or full dues.

Corky Boyd on August 25, 2011 at 11:26 PM

“Trumka says . . . ” is a phrase which never precedes the truth.

I wouldn’t trust that fat lying bastard as far as Obama could throw him with Michelle grabbing his testicles.

Adjoran on August 25, 2011 at 11:50 PM

I guess Obama isn’t commie enough for Trumpka!

MCGIRV on August 26, 2011 at 12:41 AM

Just an empty threat, unions have nowhere else to go outside the Democratic plantation.

Dollayo on August 26, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Yeah, right… I don’t believe it..

reshas1 on August 26, 2011 at 3:11 AM

Giving members’ money to either party, especially Democrats, haven’t really helped anyone except the fat cats in charge. Union membership continues to shrink and millions of union (and mostly non-union) jobs have gone overseas over the years. Both parties have either turned a blind eye to or have been complicit in allowing the Mexican border to leak illegals like a sieve, allowing blue collar labor wages to be driven down.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 26, 2011 at 6:31 AM

Why does Trumka always remind me of a thug who laughed off a report of a worker shot to death for crossing a picket line? And why does Trumka show at the global summits?

JAW on August 26, 2011 at 6:36 AM

Just an empty threat, unions have nowhere else to go outside the Democratic plantation.

Dollayo on August 26, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Communist Party USA? Too obvious?

SKYFOX on August 26, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Yeah, their new party name will be The Communist Party Workers of Amerika.

HomeoftheBrave on August 26, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Unions spliting from the worker’s of the world party? It will never happen.

Don’t ever foget that this is the party of Photoshopped haloes and faux-foam-Greek pillars.

Everything, and I mean everything, they plan is deceitful (methinks formulated in Hades by Saul Alinsky, Obama’s mentor’s friend, Lucifer.)

This is just the old triangulation, till after the inauguration game.

Don L on August 26, 2011 at 8:25 AM

That’s hillarious. Unions get a government more dedicated to inacting their agenda than any sence FDR, and things go so badly that the unions renounce their political lapdogs.

Count to 10 on August 26, 2011 at 9:16 AM

The only party left for the AFL-CIO and Trumka would be the CPUSA.

Dasher on August 26, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Obama has bent over backwards to the unions at every turn. I’d say they got their money’s worth.

jonezee on August 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Do it, Trumka!!! Don’t take this crap from the democrats….if you’re serious, I’ll contribute a few bucks myself (anything to help the further implosion of the democrats ya know)….if this is just another thug threat, try to remember who you’re threatening, m’kay?

runawayyyy on August 26, 2011 at 10:53 AM

The unions have nowhere to go. A Labor party would be a disaster for both the Democrats and the AFL/CIO. There will be no third party.

Corky Boyd on August 25, 2011 at 11:26 PM

I agree. But if they do openly split, Dims are done and labor is marginalized as a bit player that can be ignored.

Anyone who thinks the Tea Party was not an epochal event in the political history of this nation – Harry Reid – had best wake up.

98ZJUSMC on August 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Do it, Trumka!!! Don’t take this crap from the democrats….if you’re serious, I’ll contribute a few bucks myself (anything to help the further implosion of the democrats ya know)….if this is just another thug threat, try to remember who you’re threatening, m’kay?

runawayyyy on August 26, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Heh! I say, hell yeah! Go for it.

98ZJUSMC on August 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I once knew a real, live “arm-twister” and Trumka fits the description to a t. He’s a thug and a gangster and I hope that the whole ALF-CIO goes to s&!t right around him.

Mr. Grump on August 26, 2011 at 11:33 AM

The union folks might be tired of the current administration’s shenanigans. If you’ll recall back on July 1 Biden tells the teamsters “don’t come to me if you vote republican you’re on your own jack.”. Then five days later LaHood announces that Mexican trucks will be allowed to cross into the country. A plan that a lot of the trucking industry’s organizations opposed including the teamsters.

SPIFF1669 on August 26, 2011 at 11:58 PM

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