'We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama," declared Andy Stern last month, and the president of the Service Employees International Union wasn't exaggerating. The SEIU and AFL-CIO have been spending so much on politics that they're going deeply into debt.
Why would they spend so much making sure that Democrats are elected that they are basically mortgaging their futures?
They want card check legislation passed. If it want enacted into law, it would free up unions to openly intimidate reluctant workers into signing up with them because there would no longer be a secret ballot. Unions would know exactly who doesn't want to join, and then, they could make them an offer that they couldn't refuse. Once signed up, they would be forced to pay dues to the unions. With more money, they would get more power to influence this country.
How bad is it for the unions?
Alarm is coming even from inside the AFL-CIO -- specifically, from Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who sits on the AFL-CIO's finance committee. Bloomberg News reports that he is circulating a report claiming the AFL-CIO engaged in "creative accounting" to conceal financial difficulties heading into last year's Presidential election. As recently as 2000, the union consortium of 8.5 million members had a $45 million surplus. By June of last year it had $90.6 million in liabilities, or $2.3 million more than its $88.3 million in assets. "If we are not careful, insolvency may be right around the corner," Mr. Buffenbarger warned.
The unions did put their very existence on the line without expecting payback. First, Obama gave the UAW a significant amount of ownership in GM. Now, they want card check to be able expand their rolls and by extension their bank accounts through the dues received from the new coerced signees.