WFI - Report Claims EFCA Would Line Labor's Pockets


Report Claims EFCA Would Line Labor’s Pockets


Michael O'Brien

June 9, 2009 07:33 AM [ET]

The Hill


Passing the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would result in millions in additional political funds for organized labor over the next 10 years, a business group opposed to the legislation will argue in a report to be released Tuesday.


Unions would stand to gain an additional $320 million more to spend on political activities in the next decade, according to a report put together by the anti-EFCA Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).


"EFCA’s passage into law could generate billions of additional dollars for unions to spend on political activity to advance their agenda," a WFI memo says. "And for those union leaders whose pension funds have been mismanaged, EFCA’s passage would also amount to a massive government-engineered bailout of their financial mismanagement."


The report takes a statement from SEIU President Andy Stern estimating that EFCA could mean 1.5 million new members for unions each year, and extrapolates that figure with several variables. It assumes $425 in dues each year for union members with five percent of that devoted to political activity. That would mean just less than $32 million in funds for unions each year -- a total of almost $320 million over 10 years.


"The point of [EFCA] is to give workers back the freedom to form and join unions, a freedom that currently doesn't exist," AFL-CIO spokesman Alison Omens said. "Once workers come together in a union, they have more power to affect issues and have a forum to discuss good jobs, trade, and healthcare as well as where candidates stand on working family issues."


The report argues that the additional revenue plus estimated planned spending would mean organized labor as a whole would have roughly $1.75 billion to spend on political activities over the next 10 years.


"It's not an issue of benefiting," one union official said, calling the WFI report cynical. "It really is just this question about having the freedom to form a union.


"EFCA fixes a problem," that official said. "It's not about increasing our membership."


The WFI report uses a self-purported "conservative" estimate. The organization produced a "high-end" estimate assuming $943 in yearly dues, 15 percent of which would go to political funds. That would lead to over $2.1 billion in additional funds available to unions over 10 years.


"The unions would receive enormous additional revenues and would engage in unprecedented spending," said a WFI consultant who helped craft the estimates.


"How we spend money on politics is not a reflection of membership," the union official said. "The issue is that business wants to spend money now so they can keep all of their power."