UNIONS RAKE IN
July 21, 2006
A year after six unions bolted from the AFL-CIO and formed their own federation, Change to Win, the two camps are raising record amounts of political money and seeking ways to do joint campaign work this fall, says USA Today.
Between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, federal reports show, major unions in both groups raised more money than they did for the last non-presidential campaign in 2002:
- The main Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political action committee and five local SEIU PACs raised about $15 million to give to candidates, a 62 percent increase.
- The main PAC for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), part of the AFL-CIO, has raised $9.1 million, a 39 percent increase.
Much of the money will be spent to register, educate and turn out union voters:
- The AFL-CIO says it plans to spend $40 million, up from $35 million in 2002, in 21 states.
- Change to Win plans a similar program and higher spending than 2002, but Chairwoman Anna Burger would not give a figure.
- The two groups are in talks with each other to coordinate outreach to union voters.
And while the AFL-CIO may have a "short-term loss of synergy" because of the split, says William Miller, political director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, competition could strengthen unions just as it does businesses. "They will continue to be a formidable adversary," he says.
Source: Jill Lawrence, "Unions rake in record cash for campaigns," USA Today, July 21, 2006
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