Trumka Reveals Unprecedented Spending on State Elections

AFl-CIO President Richard Trumka intends on spending hundreds of millions of forced-dues dollars on the upcoming midterm elections, pouring more into state level races than before.

Tom Hamburger has the story in the Washington Post.
Union spending this election cycle is likely to be in the range it was for the last midterm election in 2010: about $250 to 300 million, by some estimates. Trumka said that this year’s midterm fight is more local than it has been in the past in part because of gridlock in Washington. In battleground states, labor has focused its efforts on legislative candidates in tight races.
“We are playing in state legislative races at a level we haven’t before,” he said at a morning roundtable at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington. “Partly that’s because we can get things done — like increases in the minimum wage — there that we can’t at the federal level.”

The AFL-CIO has also stepped up efforts to reach non-union households through a super PAC, Workers’ Voice, and the PAC’s state-level affiliates. The new organization emerged after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, which permitted independent political spending by corporations and unions. Before that decision, unions were limited to communicating political messages only to their own members. Now, they are able to communicate with any household — and in key races, that’s what they’re doing.