Chairman Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Vt.) held a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) hearing on “defending the right of workers to organize unions free from illegal corporate union-busting.”
This misleadingly-named hearing was a weak attempt to gin up momentum for radical labor reforms – most notably the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act – that failed to pass the 117th Congress. Instead, the hearing showed the long marriage between the Democrat Party and their Big Labor benefactors is stronger than ever.
Big Labor is one of the biggest drivers of campaign cash to Democrat party coffers, spending a staggering $1.8 billion in the 2020 cycle alone. The problem? Workers aren’t buying what union bosses are selling, as union membership has plummeted for decades. In 2022, just 10.1 percent of workers were unionized, down from a peak of 34.8 percent in 1954.
Given that workers are fleeing unions in droves, some witnesses demanded changes in the law to make it easier for them to force more workers to join unions to keep the dues flowing.
Witnesses repeatedly referenced money spent by employers during organizing drives to educate workers on the effects of unionization. It is true that companies have to disclose how much they spend on certain consultant activity on annual reports filed with DOL.
However, the record is missing any information about what labor unions are spending in efforts to organize new members, and whether they are deploying their resources sufficiently under the current law. We have no way of knowing what unions spend during organizing campaigns because they do not have to disclose that information like employers.
In 2021, unions had $31.6 billion in net assets, thoroughly debunking cries of poverty from Big Labor advocates.
We already know that a large chunk of mandatory union dues end up in Democrat campaign coffers. Shouldn’t these unions be spending that money and resources to do the hard work of organizing? Or are they simply content to sit back on that huge treasure chest and use it to coax their political allies to hand them new members on a platter?
If Democrats are serious about protecting workers, they would start by demanding transparency from union leaders on how workers’ money is being spent. Unfortunately, Sanders and his allies are unlikely to stop or even threaten their Big Labor gravy train.