Unions eye gubernatorial elections for payback

posted at 1:21 pm on December 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

How will the labor movement rebound from two years of defeats in what had been home turf for unionism?  Politico previews their strategy to organize efforts to defeat Republicans in key gubernatorial elections in 2013 and 2014:

Labor unions, stung by an unexpected setback in Michigan, where Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work law Tuesday limiting their ability to collect dues, are eyeing a large-scale counteroffensive against the conservative state leaders who have slashed away at union power since the 2010 midterm elections.

For national labor groups, the upcoming gubernatorial elections in 2013 and 2014 may be a greater test of their political swat than even the 2012 presidential race. Democrats view unions as having played a key role in boosting turnout for President Barack Obama and other downballot candidates, especially in Midwestern battlegrounds such as Ohio and Michigan.

It’s those states — and others like them — that represent the next front of labor’s national campaign agenda. Strategists in the Democratic and labor communities identified a half-dozen major battlegrounds that elected Republican chief executives and new GOP legislators in 2010 where they believe union muscle ought to be able to power a comeback over the next cycle.

“We’re just going to have to be prepared to fight back like never before,” said Lee Saunders, president of the public-sector labor giant AFSCME. “You look at Ohio, where you have a Republican governor and Republicans control the House and Senate, the same in Wisconsin, and we’re just going to have to be prepared. Not only the labor unions in those states, but we’re going to have to work very hard with our community partners. This is going to be a long-term battle.”

I’m quite sure that the union movement won’t be taking advice from me, but I’ll offer it anyway.  This is exactly the wrong approach for unions to take in the wake of their massive defeats over the last two years.  Clearly, they haven’t learned any lesson from those losses — just like they didn’t learn any lessons from their failed recall effort against Scott Walker in Wisconsin, a special election that should have favored the unions’ organizational strengths.  Instead, Scott Walker won a slightly larger share of the vote than in his first election, and unions blew millions of dollars while failing to damage the state Republican Party in the slightest.  In fact, Walker and the GOP came out looking even stronger than when the state passed the public-employee union reforms in the first place.

The reason that unions have ended up losing political fights is because they have aligned themselves as entirely a Democratic constituency.  They use dues, now mainly collected from public employees, to fight Republicans for public offices at all levels of government.  Did the labor movement not see the danger in becoming the fundraising and organizational arm of the Democratic Party, and especially of entrenched government bureaucracy?

Not only have they subordinated themselves to the Democratic Party, they are pushing an agenda that actually goes farther to the left than many mainstream Democrats will support.  Not every Democrat wants to rob workers of a secret ballot in organizing elections, for instance, but the unions insist on imposing card check onto American workers.  They refuse to deal with the obvious fiscal catastrophes of absurd defined-benefit pensions that are burying American cities and states in massive deficits and debt.  Unions instead push for higher taxes that will rob the US economy of capital needed to fuel job creation to cover the fantasy pension payouts that have some public officials in California getting more in retirement than the Vice President makes in salary.

If the unions want to stop their losing streak, they need to find ways to work with Republicans as well as Democrats, and offer solutions to public-policy issues that make sense.  Or, perhaps even better, unions should stay out of public policy altogether and simply stick with representing workers to management.  By making themselves a participant in partisan warfare, they’re turning themselves and their movement into political targets, and exposing their own abuses and radicalism as a means to their destruction.  They have no one but themselves to blame for their misfortune, and their proposed strategy will result in a kind of political self-immolation at which Michigan’s right-to-work switch only hints.


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Hah ha ha

Schadenfreude on December 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Bring it…

Seven Percent Solution on December 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Unions eye gubernatorial elections for payback

Better: Gubernatorial elections eye unions for payback.

petefrt on December 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

People hate unions. They’ve plucked our pockets, made everything expensive, killed manufacturing and shipped jobs to other countries.

Plus, people are sick of being threatened if they don’t give in to union demands.

darwin on December 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Did the labor movement not see the danger in becoming the fundraising and organizational arm of the Democratic Party, and especially of entrenched government bureaucracy?

Of course they didn’t, because all Democrats love instant gratification without ever worrying about what happens later.

Del Dolemonte on December 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Liberals: Political violence is okay (if it’s for a really good cause)
http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/12/liberals-political-violence-is-okay-if-its-for-a-really-good-cause/

Gawker’s argument essentially boils down to this: Crowder was asking for it!

But that’s not the only argument being made to rationalize or justify the violence.
For example …

@daveweigel @schneider_cm @mattklewis that was very tame. Stealing from workers and workers literally fight back, r u surprised?

— Jimmy Dore (@jimmy_dore) December 11

In other words, the justification is that Right to Work laws constitute “stealing” from workers. And since stealing is a violent act?–the workers are within their rights to retaliate.

There’s also hypocrisy involved here. Would liberals condone violence if the situation were reversed? And how would the mainstream media handle it if a conservative political leader promised “There will be blood,” just before a beat-down occurred.

Galt2009 on December 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Damn them all!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINDtlPXmmE

Scrumpy on December 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Scott Walker/Rick Snyder 2016

JPeterman on December 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

And as targets the unions are big …fat …and have a lot to shoot at as far as misdeeds

Aggie95 on December 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Where are they going to get the money? Not Michigan.

LoganSix on December 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

There was already a failed recall attempt on Snyder during his first year in office – they fell way short in signatures. Since proposal 2 (which would have made the right to work law unconstitutional) was just overwhelmingly defeated in the same election in which Obama easily won the state, I don’t think Snyder has much to worry about.

supernova on December 12, 2012 at 1:36 PM

“We will work hard, harness our resources, and peacefully beat the ever lovin’ shiite out of anyone we need to in order to regain what was unlawfully taken from us.”

Bishop on December 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

By all means, these nitwits should continue threatening politicians and their families, not to mention punching political writers/comedians – that’ll help quite a bit.

Midas on December 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

I’m starting to think #1 priority in state level races from now to 2016 should be right-to-work and reigning in public employee unions. Take down the left’s funding (and vote fraud) mechanism. Starve the beast.

petefrt on December 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

More members’ money wasted on something that’s not a sure bet. Wouldn’t that money serve the membership better if the unions made sure their pension plans were fully solvent?

As membership and dues revenue decline, the unions will cry poor-mouth. So can they afford to give money away to a candidate that might not win?

The unions destroyed Hostess, leaving many members out of work. Hostess had over 115 separate contracts with the bakers’ union alone, plus other contracts with the Teamsters. The Teamsters were smart–they made agreement with the company back in September. But now, thanks to the bakers’ union, Teamsters are now out of work, too.

Wouldn’t it be fun, since unions like getting violent, if they started fighting each other because one union’s greed cost members of a brother union to lose their jobs, too?

Liam on December 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

They’ll still have money from before the union reform laws.

The reason unions originally got involved in the political process was because doing so would increase their power, and therefore their ability to help their members. By helping union-friendly politicians get elected, they could help union-friendly laws get passed, and prevent union-unfriendly legislation (like Right to Work).

Everyone together now: “If you want money out of politics, take politics out of money!”

Mohonri on December 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

“Not every democrat wants to rob workers of a secret ballot”.

The majority does, those that disagree will go the way of tent….

RAGIN CAJUN on December 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Vote for REVENGE!!!!

Wait! Someone else said that not too long ago! Let’s see, who was it…..?

pilamaye on December 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

C’mon–unions working with Republicans and developing sensical policy? That is so counter to their essence and reason for being which is self-advancing and self-perpetuating. No, they’re going to run themselves off their own cliff and it won’t be fiscal.

stukinIL4now on December 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

In other words, the justification is that Right to Work laws constitute “stealing” from workers. And since stealing is a violent act?–the workers are within their rights to retaliate.

There’s also hypocrisy involved here. Would liberals condone violence if the situation were reversed? And how would the mainstream media handle it if a conservative political leader promised “There will be blood,” just before a beat-down occurred.

Galt2009 on December 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

You know, I consider the fact that I pay a disproportionately high share of my income in taxes to be ‘stealing’ on the part of the government and many (not all) of those on the receiving end of entitlements, etc. These guys will be OK with Boehner saying if Obama raises taxes “there will be blood”, and then OK if I beat the snot out of the next EBT card wielder I see buying smokes and other crap with it, or slap the next brainless chick yammering about needing free birth control… right? They’re stealing from me, right? They really want to go down this path?

Midas on December 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Intransigence and short-sightedness.

A winning combination for 2014.

Bruno Strozek on December 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Pass the popcorn please.

CorporatePiggy on December 12, 2012 at 1:48 PM

O/T

Can’t wait to take the younger hobbit out tonight at midnight for:

“The Hobbit”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDnYMbYB-nU

It’s a story of the little people triumphing over forces larger than ourselves. I don’t think they were forced to pay union dues to join in the adventure. Anyone know that for sure?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2_DUOePJuc


Thank you Senator McCain.

:-)

PappyD61 on December 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Working against this strategy will be the immediate loss of income, and union power, as workers in right-to-work states vote with their feet and leave unions in droves.

STL_Vet on December 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I have a feeling bho will be in the states opening his mouth in support of those getting a d elected? bho loves to stick his nose in these types of issues!
L

letget on December 12, 2012 at 1:51 PM

The reason unions originally got involved in the political process was because doing so would increase their power, and therefore their ability to help their members. By helping union-friendly politicians get elected, they could help union-friendly laws get passed, and prevent union-unfriendly legislation (like Right to Work).

Mohonri on December 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Union can no more stay out of politics than gangs can stay out of drug dealing, prostitution, and racket.

Archivarix on December 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I’m starting to think #1 priority in state level races from now to 2016 should be right-to-work and reigning in public employee unions. Take down the left’s funding (and vote fraud) mechanism. Starve the beast.

petefrt on December 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Ohio’s GOP is deathly afraid to touch RTW right now. The idiots should have pursued this before they tried SB 5. SB 5 might not have even been necessary if RTW had been passed.

Bitter Clinger on December 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Nice write up Ed.

lexhamfox on December 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

If the unions want to stop their losing streak, they need to find ways to work with Republicans as well as Democrats, and offer solutions to public-policy issues that make sense.

This sentence is worthy of and entire story in The Onion. Something along the lines of “NEA admits that some of our members actually do suck at teaching.”

Seriously, I agree with the sentiment but how exactly is organized thuggery supposed to work with Republicans when their leaders are out there talking about civil war because Michigan finally joined the 21st century? Unions traditionally don’t offer solutions they issue demands on threat of strikes.

And they have their own problem in places like Michigan where suddenly they can’t force people to pay them huge amounts of money so they can grease the palms of friendly Democrats. They will have to go on a charm initiative just to keep from losing members. Where and how will they have the time to work with Republicans is problematic at best. They have so aligned themselves with one party, it is hard to see how they walk back what they have done and said because there is now little common ground in which to reach cooperative positions on any issue.

Happy Nomad on December 12, 2012 at 2:03 PM

The Walker/Wisconsin public union reforms are in appeals after having been stayed by a Lefty judge. Worse, Walker seems to be tacking a bit to the left on some issues, e.g. immigration, with the mainstream Republicans after the election. But we do have both houses of the legislature and now would be a nice time to do our own RTW enacting.

And I would really enjoy another round of Statehouse protests since I was on the giant sandy beach with no water the last time. Yeah, that’d be nice.

M240H on December 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM

That is so counter to their essence and reason for being which is self-advancing and self-perpetuating. No, they’re going to run themselves off their own cliff and it won’t be fiscal.

stukinIL4now on December 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Unions need an enemy to fire up their base to the point that they are willing to put on brightly colored tees and engage in thuggery on the lawns of state capitals. They have invested a great deal of time and treasure in making that enemy “corporations” and the political equivilent “the GOP.” They have set themselves and the Democrat party as the only thing saving union members from being thrown on the streets. This divisivness is the core element for their being and where they derive their power. They are no sooner going to work with Republicans than Wile E Coyote is going to finally get the Roadrunner.

In short, the thugs beating up people and destroying property in Lansing yesterday would go crazy if suddenly their leadership talked about cooperating with the GOP on finding solutions. Might even beat up some of their own because many of the most devoted are no better than the SA as Hitler was coming to power.

Happy Nomad on December 12, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Yet, even so Romney lost WI, even with Ryan and Walker. ?

Bmore on December 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Scott Walker/Rick Snyder 2016

JPeterman on December 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Sorry, but Hillary already has the 2016 election all sewn up.

Newt Gingrich told me so.

UltimateBob on December 12, 2012 at 2:44 PM

On November 6, the unions lost a ballot initiative in Michigan, in Michigan, that would make collective bargaining part of the Michigan state constitution. It was voted down by a two to one margin. You’d think they could see the writing on the wall.

esr1951 on December 12, 2012 at 2:49 PM

A wounded animal is the most dangerous. Unions continue to be stung by defeat after defeat at the ballot and in the workplace. Losing Twinkies just puts a spongey, creamy face to the ugly side of unionization.
They’re only going to get more violent and angry. They even tried to stop out of state non-union workers from helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy here in NJ. Until of course the people heard about it and we put an end to it quick.
As a former unionized worker, I can say with a clear conscience that unions suck.

smfic on December 12, 2012 at 2:55 PM

“We will work hard, harness our resources, and peacefully beat the ever lovin’ shiite out of anyone we need to in order to regain what was unlawfully taken from us.”

Bishop on December 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

You forgot the line Oh Cr..p is this microphone on?

Galt2009 on December 12, 2012 at 3:05 PM

A lot of people (myself included) didn’t think Obama could get re-elected by writing off White working class voters and alienating Catholics. We thought there was no way Obama could win with a coalition of minorities, young people, single women, gays, etc. We just didn’t think the numbers were there, but we were wrong.

Now it’s time for Conservatives to tap into changing facts on the ground, and use it to their advantage. Public workers used to earn less than private sector workers, but they had better benefits and job security. Now there is growing resentment amongst private sector workers over the fact that public workers are now earning much more than they ever earned, and their benefits and job security protections have become downright absurd, especially in this economy.

The next move for the Tea Party is to come out and make the case that public unions are inherently immoral. Public servants who work for not for profit agencies that are funded by the tax payers should have no right to engage in collective bargaining and buying off politicians, who unlike private sector CEOs who are forced to deal with unions, are giving away other people’s money to the special interest groups who put them into office.

At this point, we can’t expect any GOP politicians to get behind such an effort, not even the so called Tea Party darlings. Maybe Rand Paul would, since he’s pretty fearless. But a grassroots PR campaign to deligitimize the very existence of public sector unions has to begin. Public pensions are one of the main drivers of fiscal insolvency. There a lot of people out there working in the private sector whose ears would perk up if they heard people making a sound argument against the existence of public employee unions.

ardenenoch on December 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Ohio’s GOP is deathly afraid to touch RTW right now. The idiots should have pursued this before they tried SB 5. SB 5 might not have even been necessary if RTW had been passed.

Bitter Clinger on December 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Simplified.

Then again, the proponents of SB 5 totally miscalculated just how much the public union establishment was invested in the effort (vis-a-vis out of state unions, super PAC and Democrat groups). Then there were turncoats like Bob Frantz and Bill Cunningham (two conservative radio hosts in Cleveland and Cincy, respectively) who crucified Kasich and the Ohio GOP on a relentless basis.

Cunningham even cut an ad for the Ohio Dems/PEUs, then appeared on LSDNC. This from the guy who originated the “Great American” act Hannity blatently stole from, BTW.

Myron Falwell on December 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Simplified.

Then again, the proponents of SB 5 totally miscalculated just how much the public union establishment was invested in the effort (vis-a-vis out of state unions, super PAC and Democrat groups). Then there were turncoats like Bob Frantz and Bill Cunningham (two conservative radio hosts in Cleveland and Cincy, respectively) who crucified Kasich and the Ohio GOP on a relentless basis.

Cunningham even cut an ad for the Ohio Dems/PEUs, then appeared on LSDNC. This from the guy who originated the “Great American” act Hannity blatently stole from, BTW.

Myron Falwell on December 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Wow, I didn’t know that about Cunningham. What a tool.

Bitter Clinger on December 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I’m quite sure that the union movement won’t be taking advice from me, but I’ll offer it anyway. This is exactly the wrong approach for unions to take in the wake of their massive defeats over the last two years

Ed, they are not wise enough to consult you. Let them waste even more of the money they rob from members, don’t hurt me one iota.

D-fusit on December 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM

People hate unions. They’ve plucked our pockets, made everything expensive, killed manufacturing and shipped jobs to other countries.
darwin on December 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

I’m no fan of organized labor but US manufacturing is actually quite robust, as are our exports, but we just have fewer people making things due to productivity gains and automation. A typical auto assembly plant today employs about 2,500 at full capacity. Fifty years ago, that figure would have been 10,000.

Yes, in the 1980s and 1990s we let a lot of our manufacturing base (like machine tools) wither and die, but Americans still manufacture a lot of stuff. The US is typically #1, #2 or #3 in all the major metrics, usually right there with Japan, China and Germany fighting for the top spots.

rokemronnie on December 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM

The next move for the Tea Party is to come out and make the case that public unions are inherently immoral. Public servants who work for not for profit agencies that are funded by the tax payers should have no right to engage in collective bargaining and buying off politicians…
… But a grassroots PR campaign to deligitimize the very existence of public sector unions has to begin. Public pensions are one of the main drivers of fiscal insolvency. There a lot of people out there working in the private sector whose ears would perk up if they heard people making a sound argument against the existence of public employee unions.

ardenenoch on December 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

+100 Yes, a strong moral argument needs to be made. We need to reclaim the moral high ground within the popular culture, and union issues are an easy way to start.

petefrt on December 12, 2012 at 4:24 PM

let them unseat the Walkers of the country…their dirty secret has been exposed and the rust will continue to eat at the armor they have had for too long…

teejk on December 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM

The reason that unions have ended up losing political fights is because they have aligned themselves as entirely a Democratic constituency. They use dues, now mainly collected from public employees, to fight Republicans for public offices at all levels of government. Did the labor movement not see the danger in becoming the fundraising and organizational arm of the Democratic Party, and especially of entrenched government bureaucracy?

You’re missing the point. Private sector unionism is already nearly dead. In a global economy, private companies burdened by the costs and inefficiencies of union contracts simply cannot compete. So, either the union is just a weak arm of management, or the shop is going non-union. The best they will muster is to hold on in a few industries where the “shop floor” is bolted to U.S. soil such as hotels.

But the majority and growing part of unionists in the U.S. are public sector unions, and their fates are entirely dependent on the extent of their political muscle, both in terms of the direct public officials that they are negotiating with, as well as the higher ups who direct the flows of money. So asking them to focus on representing labor against management instead of politics makes no sense. Politics determines everything for them; of course they are going to focus their attention there.

Progressive Heretic on December 12, 2012 at 5:52 PM

The reason why Walker won the recall was mainly due to the fact that there were a good chunk that would have voted for Barret at the time, but also felt that the recall was wrong so they voted for Walker.

There are enough people left with sense in this state, until the idiots from Ill come up here.

NOW…. if elections held today, how would it turn out? Im guessing Walker would win the Barret learners now. For the simple fact he has time to work, and its all been working out great.

I hope he gets good support from guys like Ryan in the next election cycle. I am sure a majority of us enjoy taxes staying flat.

watertown on December 12, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Unions eye gubernatorial elections for payback

…go ahead…spend those dues!

KOOLAID2 on December 12, 2012 at 11:03 PM

The local branch of the NEA has its annual gathering on my campus. I’m always amused at the break-out sessions. Nearly all of them are related to political issues. Almost none are related to education.

skydaddy on December 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM