Pennsylvania Government Union Dues Used for Politics
Pennsylvania’s government unions use taxpayer-funded payroll systems to collect their political money. This includes not only Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions, but membership dues earmarked for politics. Since 2007, Pennsylvania government unions spent $62.7 million from membership dues on “Political Activities & Lobbying.” Including national affiliates the total reaches $342 million during the 2016 election cycle alone. Here are a few examples of dues-funded government union political spending.
Political communications, endorsements, mailers & advertisements funded by union dues
- A PSEA endorsement mailer from the 2016 election.
- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO conducted a “Ground Game for Labor 2016 Campaign” with over 500,000 mailers, including this Katie McGinty endorsement.
- A sample email from SEIU 668, urging members to contact their legislators and pass Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget.
- A 2014 mailer from AFT-PA endorsing Tom Wolf.
- PSEA sent a 2012 political endorsement to union members.
- UFCW’s anti-liquor privatization TV ad claiming privatization will kill Pennsylvanians. Additional ads from 2011 include: UFCW radio ads attacking Representative Mike Turzai and UFCW TV ads attacking Senators Browne and Mensch.
Fundraising for PAC contributions
- Donate to PACE or join the “Tom Corbett Fan Club” (pages 15-18).
Direct contributions to political organizations and SuperPACs that advocate for or against issues and politicians
- “Philadelphians for a Fair Future” received $50,000 to advocate for the Philadelphia Soda Tax.
- The National Public Pension Coalition, which ran social media ads attacking House Republicans, received $160,000 from government unions.
- America Works USA, an affiliated of the Democratic Governor’ Association, launched radio and TV ads attacking Republicans to build support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015 budget proposal. America Works received $1.8 million in dues from AFSCME, AFSCME 13, NEA, and SEIU local affiliates, while DGA received an additional $2.2 million from AFSCME, AFT, and UFCW 1776.
- SuperPAC “Pennsylvanian’s for Judicial Reform” ran ads targeting 2015 Supreme Court judicial candidates with the aid of $675,000 from AFSCME and SEIU State Leadership Council.
- NEA- and SEIU-funded “Pennsylvanians for Accountability” spent $1 million on ads attacking Governor Corbett.
 Source: “Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Reports,” Office of Labor-Management Standards. Pennsylvania unions include AFSCME 13, AFT-PA, PSEA, SEIU locals, and UFCW 1776. Many state and local unions are not required to file Form LM-2, thus excluding their dues-funded political spending from this total.
 Examples include funding from Pennsylvania government unions and national affiliates.