Unions are an important part of our American economic system, and I’m not among the few who deride them categorically. Union membership, when it is voluntarily accepted by individuals, can be beneficial to both employees and healthy advance of enterprise.
However, when a politician’s institutional campaign contributions are top heavy with union funds, any thoughtful voter ought to take a second look and decide whether the cons of that situation outweigh te pros.
Let’s look at Open Secrets once again to see the Top Twenty contributors to Lynn Woolsey’s campaign thus far in 2009-2010. It’s worth pasting here too:
|1||American Crystal Sugar||$10,000||$0||$10,000|
|1||Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||$10,000||$0||$10,000|
|1||Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union||$10,000||$0||$10,000|
|5||Center Point Inc||$9,900||$9,900||$0|
|6||American Federation of Teachers||$8,500||$0||$8,500|
|7||Carpenters & Joiners Union||$7,500||$0||$7,500|
|8||American Assn for Justice||$6,000||$0||$6,000|
|8||American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees||$6,000||$0||$6,000|
|11||United Parcel Service||$5,828||$0||$5,828|
|12||Painters & Allied Trades Union||$5,500||$0||$5,500|
|13||Amalgamated Transit Union||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|13||American Postal Workers Union||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|13||Operating Engineers Union||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
|13||Service Employees International Union||$5,000||$0||$5,000|
How many of the twenty are unions? Thirteen! That is 65%.
Here’s another very helpful way to look at Rep. Woolsey’s contributions. Click here and view the Sectors Totals graph toward the bottom of the page. Labor (i.e. unions) far outpaces the other twelve sectors. Also note that while individual contributions far exceed PAC contributions in nearly all other sectors, for Labor, the exact opposite occurs.
As mentioned in the opening of this post, the unions have an acknowledged and useful part to play in our country’s business community. But a congresswoman who receives such a large portion of her campaign funds from organized labor has some explaining to do, in my opinion. We here in Marin and Sonoma define ourselves in very diverse and individualistic ways. We’re a Northern California community, certainly, but we aren’t all farmers or all lawyers or all small business people or all law enforcement. And we’re not all union either (although I’m sure some unions would prefer that we were). So why are we sending a woman to the House who is so heavily invested in unions (and they in her)? We need to elect someone who isn’t so financially in thrall to unions (or any one sector).