Unions Harness Citizens United


If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That seems to be the tactic taken by labor unions following last year’s watershed Citizens United ruling.

Unions have seized on the decision which changed the landscape for labor’s participation in elections in addition to opening the doors to unlimited corporate cash. One of the changes to the world of campaign finance ushered in by the decision is an end to prohibitions on unions from outreach to nonunion members. Now unions can use their internal organization to reach out to sympathetic nonunion households by door knocking, campaign calls and get out the vote efforts.

With these limitations lifted, unions are developing ambitious plans to influence nonunion households in the 2012 election and to counter corporate money flowing from outside conservative groups. Beyond those traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, they can also create their own Super PAC. This is a move Richard Trumpka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. says will help make organized labor more independent of the Democratic Party and more able to fully back those candidates who are union supporters, including Republicans, provided they promote policy that aligns with the interest of working class Americans, including union members.

It’s good that the unions are finding a way to push policy that benefits the working class since so many Blue Dog Democrats have left those constituents behind. It is also good that there is some ability to push back against the Koch Brothers and other significant corporate influences.

But is this really the direction we want our campaigns to head? Toward unlimited spending, irrespective of interest? There is no denying the corrupting power of money on our elections, and it’s time to shut off the valve for good. In the meantime though, unions may provide the only hope working class Americans have in keeping any influence in the electoral process.


Photo from tracyo via flickr.


Carole R.
Carole R.5 years ago


Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Sound m. No,he was too dumb to pass the entrance exam

Sound Mind
Ronald E.5 years ago

Steve R, taking special classes in imbecility?

Thomas A.
Thomas A.5 years ago

Well, unions are the only organized capital left that represents the middle classes. If they don't stand up to corporate cash, then who will?

I agree, the court decision is seriously flawed on many levels. However, until the laws are changed, the "megaphone of cash", as Stephen Colbert so accurately calls it, needs to be used just to maintain a voice.

I'll donate to a labor-backed super-PAC.

William Y.
William Y.5 years ago

If the corporations can do it, then so can the unions, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I think the decision sucks, but if the senile court say that it is legal then go for it until we get a couert with some common sense.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

If your government uses legislation to take the power away from the unions(and the people), they will simply fight back. They won't just go away because you want them to. You need to reform them just as you need to reform elections and political contributions. The corporations keep trying to get the minimum wage lowered to make more profits out of pure greed so they are more necessary now than they have ever been.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

The need for more money to out money the ultra rich is a spiral with out end.
We need to cut that spiral and put the money wasted in the 'races for government control, in our infrastructer to help our country to get on it's feet.
The money spent on our elections leaves the rest of the 98% bagging on the streets. How people can spend billions of dollars to get elected while families are going with out enough food, shelter,and health.....is behyond me.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Steve R. has NEVER contributed anything to a single story here except to show everyone what a clown he is. Nothing but a pathetic troll, just ignore him.

Linda T.
Linda T.5 years ago

Give me a break. can unions really compete with corperate money? I think not. Since over 94% of Canidates are elected because they raised the most money all the talking in the world can not compete with well funded canidates and voters buy in of a 30 second ad even if the ad is nothing more than fallacy.
Steve R the only ones acting like socialist is the Republicans, Corperate Socailist.. I see how easily you are fooled by one liners.

Hugh W.
.5 years ago

If corporations can contribute like people, than their CEOs should be imprisoned for their wrongdoings. David Lesar (Halliburton), William Utt (KBR) and Rex Tillerson (Exxon), are you guys ready for the chain gang. You three have gotten off for too many crimes. This is just a start, there are many more that need to line-up for the shackles.