The tote board is in and Big Labor took its spending on North Carolina elections to a new level during the 2008 election cycle. According to reports filed with the NC State Board of Elections through Oct. 25, labor unions spent in excess of $4.7 million in an attempt to influence North Carolina elections – more than they spent in 2004 and 2006 combined.
As they have done in the past two cycles, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) continue to be the largest benefactor of state legislative campaigns, funneling more than $1.8 million into North Carolina campaigns – with $1.1 million in cash going directly to the North Carolina Democratic Party. Not to be outdone in building a sphere of influence, the National Education Association (NEA) spent $1.9 million –all of it in support of Bev Perdue’s candidacy for governor.
|Labor Spending in 2008 Elections|
|Teamsters (DRIVE PAC)||$325,117|
And none of these totals include amounts spent on Kay Hagan’s campaign for US Senate, which some estimate to be around $2 million.
So with nearly $7 million of labor union money bouncing around North Carolina, is this the year that labor unions locally get their wish and are allowed collective bargaining rights? Scott Mooneyham of The Insider State Government News Service theorized that collective bargaining may be used as a chip in the negotiations to balance the budget this year.
As we’ve all heard, the state is facing an estimated $2 billion budget shortfall this coming fiscal year. And all the scrimping and savings and potential sin tax increases that are being proposed will more than likely not be able to completely fill the gap. So what happens when the budget writers start looking for ways to really reduce expenses and set their sights on trimming some of the over 140,000 state employee jobs (and that doesn’t include the 175,000 teachers also on payroll)?
So according to Mooneyham, the question then becomes will SEANC/SEIU trade legislative leaders a reduction in the number of state personnel in exchange for granting of collective bargaining rights?
With labor pouring nearly $9 million into North Carolina campaigns over the past four years – 95 percent of it given to Democrats – the time is getting near for labor to expect a return on its investment.
The worst case scenario for our state and nation may be rapidly approaching. Just imagine the power that will be shifted to organized labor if Congress passes the deceptively-named Employee Free Choice Act (card-check) and also passes legislation granting collective bargaining rights to emergency personnel. Then, North Carolina gives its state employees collective bargaining rights. The power and influence over our economy, not to mention our state budgets, will dramatically shift out of the hands of our elected officials and business leaders and into the hands of labor bosses.
Then if we would just learn to love stinky cheese, we could be just like France!