N.Y. Times: SCOTUS Union Ruling Hitting Democratic Candidates, Progressive Groups Hard
The Supreme Court's ruling last week that struck down mandatory union fees and dues for public workers is going to create financing problems for many Democrats running for office and "Progressive" groups which rely on at least tens of millions of dollars in money from the government unions to finance their campaigns and operations.
The New York Times reported in the "Economy" section Monday that once the fees dry up, "a vast network of groups dedicated to advancing Liberal policies and candidates" will be hit hard. The report also reinforces how much these groups and Democrats running for office rely on money that has been taken from public employees whether they approved of it or not.
The groups have already seen financing slow down during the past year, the Times reports, because the unions were spending millions in court to defend the mandatory fees.
The NYT report described those court challenges as being part of an, "escalated campaign to rein in labor over the past decade or two."
The Times report says Liberal activists likened the decision and the challenges that brought the case to the Supreme Court to a war, and that the decision was a crucial blow to their defenses.
They say that closing the pipeline of cash from the unions to the political groups was, "a crucial goal of the Conservative groups" they claim helped bring the case to SCOTUS.
Opponents of the mandatory fees say the fierce outcry over last week's decision shows that Democrats have leaned heavily on "forced" donations for a very long time.
The Illinois Policy Institute found the government worker in Springfield, Illinois who ultimately brought the case to SCOTUS. Its chief executive wrote in December, "union bosses...use that money to advance their big-government agenda."
The Times says those words indicate that "Conservative groups acknowledge" or admit a war on "the Progressive movement", but Illinois Policy Institute has said that the mandatory fees were "unfair to workers".
It says public workers who have opted out of the union will soon see higher paychecks, and that those workers were being forced to pay approximately $700 per year in mandatory fees.
The unions have reportedly been preparing for the ruling. The NYT story says that Service Employees International Union cut its budget by 30 percent before the decision was handed down. The union's president says it has been talking to Liberal groups about how to handle the loss through fund-raising and sending union staff to help.
The NYT story continues with references to more groups that push policies supported by the Democrats (raising taxes "to fund education and health care", Voter ID, raising the Minimum Wage, Obamacare).
The NYT reporter even talked to Brad Woodhouse, the former director of a group that used public union money taken from mandatory fees to push Obamacare ten years ago, as well as other Obama Administration policies.
Woodhouse was a former communications director with the Democratic National Committee, further reinforcing that the money public employees were required to pay has been going solely to Democrats and Progressive/Liberal groups.
The high court's ruling says that requiring workers to pay unions fees violated their First Amendment rights to free speech and religion, because many disagreed with the unions' political activities. The unions used the money taken from those workers to push and promote those agendas.
The report notes that the ruling is not necessarily a death rattle for the groups, as the union money has been slowing down recently, and some of the money lost can be made up in donations from wealthy supporters of Liberal/Progressive causes. It also says that the groups are optimistic that union members and retired members will be able to help them work an effective "ground game" politically, by knocking on doors and calling voters.
However, the report also points to states like Michigan, where a former director of the AFL-CIO Union says a law ending mandatory fees resulted in 25% drop in votes from union households for the Democratic Presidential Candidate between 2000 and 2016.