Liberal Denver Post editorialist Bob Ewegen wants readers to believe he is really concerned about the plight of the Republican Party, so he sends us this warning:
…[U]nions are enjoying something of a revival in Colorado, especially in the public sector, and they are a vital source of political volunteers and campaign funds.
That’s why spitting in labor’s face in the name of “right to work” may well awaken the sleeping giant of the Colorado union movement in 2008 just as it did a half-century ago â€” with similar woeful results to the GOP.
Bob Ewegen is cloaking his antipathy for workplace freedom in the garb of concern for the Grand Old Party’s political welfare. While it’s unclear how well Amendment 47 will fare at the ballot box (probably better than 1958), you can still color me skeptical.
Why? When last we found Ewegen tackling the topic of Right to Work, he misused statistics (also here) to make a weak case against emancipating workers from mandatory fees for union services.
Now, apparently, a phony plea for compassion toward Republicans is at the bottom of Ewegen’s anti-Right to Work ammunition cache. Brer Rabbit was more convincing.
Interestingly, though, to make his case, Ewegen admits how the landscape of Colorado campaign laws is tilted in the direction of labor unions:
But â€” ominously for Republicans’ legislative hopes â€” campaign finance laws have also changed, in a way that reinforces the still sizable clout of organized labor.
Amendment 27, the 2002 Colorado campaign finance law written by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, allows labor unions to contribute up to $4,000 to candidates to the legislature. Businesses and private citizens are limited to one-tenth as much as unions can contribute, no more than $400 per election season.
That’s because Amendment 27 allows “small donor committees” to give politicians 10 times as much as any other person or group if they get only $50 or less per contributor. Unions are well positioned to exploit that loophole because, for example, the Colorado Association of Public Employees/Service Employees International Union, can deduct $4 a month from a member’s $15 monthly dues for political purposes and count the resulting $48 a year as a “small donor” contribution from a member who may not even be aware that she made that particular “donation.”
What an admission! The funny thing is the unknowing political “donation” to a union that Ewegen acknowledges also may come from a worker who never chose to join or to give money to the union in the first place. Right-to-work would solve that problem.
Any group that has Big Labor’s sort of privilege and clout doesn’t need its favorite local columnist to be shedding crocodile tears on its behalf – or on behalf of the Republican Party.
Soda Pop says
Actually, if a worker does not want the union to use their fees for political purposes, they can chose to pay only ‘agency fees’. Thus, they pay only the portion of their union dues that go to collective bargaining and administration. They do not have to pay for any political campaigns the union undertakes. So Ewegen actually gets it wrong. If a worker allows the union to take political fees out of their dues, yes, what Ewegen describes can happen. But if a worker does not want political fees taken out of their dues, then what Ewegen describes cannot happen.
But the main premise of your piece is correct. Ewegen is not exactly sad for the Republican Party. That being said, his analysis may actually be accurate.