Unions Send $1B of Members’ Dues to Liberal Groups

No one should be forced to fund values they disagree with—yet that’s exactly what’s happening to union members. Dues collected from workers’ paychecks, often at taxpayer expense, are used for political activities including TV and radio advertisements and direct contributions to political groups. 

Just how much of these union dues were spent on political activities? From 2010-2016, unions gave more than $1.1 billion to Democratic candidates and liberal groups such as the Clinton Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the Democratic Governors Association. 

We see political spending of government union dues in Pennsylvania too. Since 2007, $66.9 million in dues were spent strictly on “political activities and lobbying.” Even additional money earmarked for collective bargaining supports politically-affiliated organizations, as seen in the following table of union spending in 2016.

What’s the problem? Many members do not support these values. Yet this lopsided ideological spending means many workers’ hard-earned money goes to organizations they don’t support.   

Making matters worse, employees in 22 non-right-to-work states, such as Pennsylvania, are forced to join unions–or pay a fine–and then their money is spent on a political cause they may oppose. According to the 2017 National Employee Freedom Week survey, union employees in union states tended to be more dissatisfied with their contracts than in right-to-work states. Isn’t it time for unions to use dues to better represent workers?

In Pennsylvania, paycheck protection could fix this conflict of interest. That’s why 67% of Pennsylvanians support this good government reform.

It is time for unions to invest their money in their hard-working, tax-paying members, not partisan activities.