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Entries in Labor Unions (9)


ALG urges IRS to withdraw anti-free speech regulations, notes failure to include labor union political spending


More than $772 million in union political expenditures ignored by proposed IRS regulation

Fairfax, VA – Americans for Limited Government president Nathan Mehrens filed comments with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today urging the withdrawal of newly proposed regulations governing tax exempt social welfare groups, because they fail to treat labor union political expenditures in a similar manner.

Mehrens details more than $772 million in reported labor union expenditures in 2012 alone, which would be ignored under the newly proposed regulations affecting social welfare tax exempt 501(c)(4) organizations.  Labor unions are tax exempt organizations that fall under section 501(c)(5) of the tax code, and for purposes are similar organizations as their social welfare brothers.

The Service Employees International Union led the political spending charge with almost $114 million in political activity, according to official filings submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor.  Not including SEIU and AFL-CIO spending (each of which have significant public employee membership), the top public employee unions spent more than $144 million on political activity and lobbying with AFSCME alone totaling more than $70 million in expenditures.

Mehrens concludes his comment saying, "As demonstrated above, the NPRM (regulation) fails to treat similar organizations in a similar manner. Additionally, the IRS doesn't even bother to explain why they are proposing to treat similar organizations differently. Based on the foregoing, the NPRM should be immediately withdrawn."

Among many provisions of the proposed regulation (NPRM), it would highly restrict the ability of tax exempt social welfare groups to mention any politician's name in any communications within 30 days of the primary election or 60 days of the general election, and it redefines the terms candidate and political activity from the legal definitions found under federal election law.  The net effect of the changes would be to disembowel 501(c)(4) organizations capacity to engage in political discourse and education while leaving labor unions and other tax exempt organizations unscathed.

The deadline for comment submissions on the IRS regulation targeting tea party organizations is Thursday, February 27th.

A copy of Mr. Mehrens comment including a breakdown of the top fifteen union spenders is available here.


Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at


CEI Today: John Kerry & Flat Earthers, cooperative capitalism, and labor unions & Obama

Friday, February 21, 2014
In the News Today

JOHN KERRY & FLAT EARTHERS  - MARLO LEWIS Who’s the Real Flat-Earther? McKnider and Christy Respond to Secy. Kerry

Name-calling used to be considered beneath the dignity of the Secy. of State. But if it works for President Obama (“We don’t have time for a meeting the Flat-Earth Society”), who is Kerry to abstain from slinging snark?

The Flat-Earth hypothesis was once the “scientific consensus.” So who’s the real Flat-Earther in today’s climate debate? Someone, like Kerry, who exaggerates the “findings” of flawed climate models, or someone who is skeptical of climate models because of their growing failure to replicate climate reality?  > Read more

> Interview Marlo Lewis

LABOR UNIONS & OBAMA - TREY KOVACS Big Labor’s Insatiable Greed

The Fiscal Times ran an article entitled, “Big Labor’s Mounting Feud with Barack Obama.” It reports that union bosses believe their political activity and millions of dollars in campaign contributions was the difference in President Obama’s 2012 reelection and the Commander in Chief has not provided equal consideration to unions for their efforts.

While unions may not have gotten everything they would like from the president, it is hard to argue labor unions’ status is not one of privilege.
> Read more


> Interview Trey Kovacs

COOPERATIVE CAPITALISM - FRED L. SMITH, JR. The “Cooperative” Enterprise Institute?

Capitalism is more “caring” than any other known institutional system. We must find ways of making its concern more apparent. The popular mind tends to associate capitalism with competition, but there is actually far more cooperation. A business will compete with a few rivals, true. But to stay in business, it must cooperate with thousands of customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers and neighbors. > Read more

> Interview Fred Smith


March 6-8, 2014




CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!




ALG - House and Senate agree on funding Obamacare, disagree on carve outs for special interests

Oct. 15, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement in response to competing House and Senate proposals to pass a continuing resolution, raise the debt ceiling, and to fund Obamacare:

"There is now no disagreement between House and Senate leadership, between Republicans and Democrats, on the most critical issue facing the nation, and that is funding Obamacare.

"On the Senate side, Republican leaders have signed off on not only funding Obamacare, but exempting labor unions from some of its harmful provisions. Meanwhile, House Republican leaders similarly have agreed to allow funding for Obamacare to take effect, and to bail out General Electric and other corporate interests who are faced with the onerous medical device tax.

"The only apparent difference of opinion is which special interest should get an exemption from the health care law. When both houses are through negotiating, they'll likely agree that both big labor and General Electric should be exempted. This comes atop big businesses getting a one-year delay on the employer mandate, members of Congress and their staffs getting a lifetime exemption from the law from the Obama administration, and other labor unions who also got a four-year waiver from the so-called Cadillac insurance plan tax.

"Apparently, when all is said and done, everyone except for the American people will have an Obamacare waiver.

"These carve outs for special interests once again prove why we need to get rid of health care law in full. Rather than playing the traditional D.C. carve out game, House Republicans need to go back to square one and demand that everyone be treated the same by defunding the entire law."

To view online: 


Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at


News From State Budget Solutions - September 

Promises Made, Promises Broken - The Betrayal of Pensioners and Taxpayers
SBS report points to $4.1 trillion in underfunded public pensions

Comprehensive research into the funded status of state-administered pension plans reveals that public employee retirement promises are underfunded by $4.1 trillion. Combined, state-administered pension plans are just 39 percent funded.

Figures were drawn from state Fiscal Year 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, as well as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports and actuarial valuations published by individual plans. In each case, figures were from the most up-to-date valuation available at the time of research. Plans were compiled based on the United States Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Public Pensions and state-level financial reports. Therefore this includes municipal pension funds that are administered by the state.  

States facing a particularly large unfunded liability at a per capita level and as a percentage of their annual gross state product include Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Oregon, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska. As this report demonstrates, unfunded public pension liabilities present a unique threat to state government finances. While many have tried to turn a blind eye to the pension crisis, the problem is simply too big to ignore. 

Read More

The Strong Arm of California Labor Unions

If you thought California’s labor unions couldn’t get any stronger, you would be wrong. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the U.S. Secretary of Labor in your corner.

In a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Secretary Tom Perez said that the Department of Labor can withhold up to $1.6 billion in federal mass transportation grants if the state does not come to an agreement with transit labor unions to reverse pension reforms that passed the legislature and were signed by Brown last year. Perez is pulling on strings attached to the federal money because he believes the reforms violate the collective bargaining protections in the federal law providing for mass transit grants.

State Budget Solutions In the News

State Budget Solutions is a known expert in fiscal responsibility and pension reform. Every month, countless media outlets and financial professionals cite the work of SBS's expert analysis and publish the opinions of SBS leaders.

After Detroit, how about 401(k)s for public workers?
CNN - September 3, 2013

Combined, city and state unfunded pension debts amount to $4.6 trillion, according to an analysis published by State Budget Solutions, a conservative-leaning group.

The crisis is recognized by many, but unfortunately, most of the proposed solutions are either shortsighted or just plain silly. In Illinois, for instance, Gov. Pat Quinn at one point suggested a federal bailout of the state's pension debt, a call that has been echoed by many for Detroit. Given the federal government's own fiscal problems, this proposal has been dismissed as irresponsible. Read More

Study: State pension shortfalls reach $4.1 trillion
Daily Caller - September 3, 2013

America’s state-level public employee pensions are underfunded by $4.1 trillion, according to a study released Tuesday by the organization State Budget Solutions.

State public pensions in the United States are only 39 percent funded, according to the study.

Illinois is facing the worst pension crisis in the country, with pensions in the state only 24 percent funded, and with an unfunded liability of more than $287 billion (more than $22,000 per person) against less than $92 billion in actuarial assets. Pensions in Connecticut, Kentucky and Kansas are also less than 30 percent funded, according to the study.

Read More

The Williams Report

As a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and auditor with the Government Accountability Office, State Budget Solutions' President Bob Williams is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies.  Each week, he compiles the latest news and headlines pertaining to state budgets, collective bargaining and state public pensions into The Williams Report.


Feds to resume sending public transit money to California after Gov. caves in and temporarily exempts public workers at public transit agencies from California pension reform. The Tribune

Read More Williams Report

CEI - Labor Unions Blast Obama’s American Airlines-US Airways Merger Lawsuit 

It seems there's a dispute brewing between labor unions and the Obama Department of Justice over DOJ's lawsuit in the American Airlines/ US Airways merger.  As CEI's transportation policy expert Marc Scribner points out, that's problematic for the administration because Big Labor is the president's most important constituent:  "After public-sector unions, transportation unions spend the most on lobbying and political expenditures within the labor movement."

CEI Communications Director

Labor Unions Blast Obama’s American Airlines-US Airways Merger Lawsuit

by Marc Scribner on August 20, 2013

in Features, Labor, Legal, Mobility, Regulation


Last Tuesday, the Department of Justice and six state attorneys general filed suit to block the planned merger of American Airlines and US Airways. I criticized the lawsuit here on several grounds. One of the more interesting aspects of this case is who is not supporting the Obama administration: organized labor.

Once the news broke, the union representing US Airways flight attendants described the Obama administration’s antitrust lawsuit as based in “fantasy” and a “war on workers,” joining the union representing American’s pilots in blasting the attack on the planned merger. Yesterday, the union representing American’s flight attendants began targeting the six attorneys general, calling on them to “reconsider [their] participation in this ill-advised lawsuit,” while American’s pilots union took out a full-page ad in the the Dallas Morning News urging Attorney General Greg Abbott to drop his opposition to the merger.

Today, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department — essentially the U.S. labor movement’s umbrella organization for transportation unionswrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying, “Your actions run counter to the interests of employees at these two air carriers represented by TTD unions and are inconsistent with the DOJ’s recent treatment of transactions involving airline consolidation.”

The Obama administration’s misguided antitrust attack risks alienating his most important constituency: organized labor. After public-sector unions, transportation unions spend the most on lobbying and political expenditures within the labor movement. As more groups line up against the move to block the American-US Air merger, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the president bit off more than he can chew.

> Follow Marc Scribner on Twitter