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Which Side Are They On?

American labor unions and how they got that way.

Apr 5, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 28 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Over 20 years, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees has donated $42 million, 98 percent to Democrats; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, $31.5 million, 97 percent to Democrats; the National Education Association, $30 million, 92 percent to Democrats; the Laborers Union, $29 million, 92 percent; and the Teamsters, $28 million, 92 percent. Most important, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), considered the main Obamaite union, has disbursed $28 million to politicians, with 95 percent to Democrats. The Laborers, Teamsters, and SEIU have been plagued by internal abuses, and hardly stand as schools for citizenship and democratic participation, as unions were promised to be by Samuel Gompers, the main founder of the AFL.

Fascism did not emerge from the New Deal, as William Green feared, although after the Second World War his concern about Communist infiltration was vindicated by the exposure of Alger Hiss and other spies for Moscow. But antistatist, politically independent unionism is almost impossible to imagine today. And the underlying problem of the political manipulation of union members is as great as it has ever been.


Stephen Schwartz is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.



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