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  • 'Occupy Wall Street' Steadily Becoming Just Another Big Labor Protest

    News that two major labor unions will co-opt an “Occupy” protest in Washington next month solidifies two facts about the waning protest movement: it is an entirely ordinary function of left-wing activism, and it is wholly unserious about addressing special interests’ influence over the political process.

    The Washington Post reports that the Service Employees International Union and the Communications Workers of America will stage a protest at the Capitol next month in conjunction with occupiers. The protest’s stated goal, according to SEIU president Mary Kay Henry: to intimidate Republicans into backing the president’s economic agenda.

    The Occupy protests, in other words, will be co-opted by a pair of unions looking to leverage populist anger in their push for a generic left-wing agenda – more “stimulus” spending, higher taxes, no entitlement reform, and an ever-increasing national debt. Occupiers nationwide initially touted their non-partisan credentials. “Occupy Congress,” as the forthcoming protest is to be titled, should put that claim to rest.

    Likewise, collaboration with some of the nation’s largest labor unions undercuts protestors’ incessant claims that their chief grievance is special interests’ undue influence on the political process. Indeed, the SEIU is the fifth largest political contributor of any third party group since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, having doled out more than $37 million to political candidates, parties, and organizations. Five of the top 10 groups in terms of political contributions are unions.

    But direct contributions are only the tip of the iceberg for union political activities. In the past two election cycles, American labor unions reported an astounding $2.2 billion in political expenditures, according to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research. The SEIU spent more than $55 million on political activities in 2010 alone. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is also supporting the Occupy protests, was the year’s most politically active union in terms of expenditures, with more than $66 million going to its political activities.

    Big Labor is also taking full advantage of new campaign finance freedoms recognized by occupiers’ most vilified Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. FEC. “Labor unions are seizing on last year’s landmark Supreme Court campaign finance ruling to change how they engage in politics,” the New York Times reported in September.

    Chief among labor groups leveraging the freer campaign finance environment is the AFL-CIO, which has also been among the most supportive of the Occupy protests. The union’s policy director said the protestors had “given voice to something very basic about what’s going on in our country right now…The fact that they’ve figured out certain concepts and language for doing that, we think is really important and positive.”

    Scribe reported that the AFL-CIO was using ad dollars to support the protests, but that hasn’t been the full extent of their support. They’ve invited Occupy DC protestors to their headquarters to shower, and given food and blankets to the occupants of the tent city in McPhereson Square, according to the Washington Examiner.

    A host of internationals – both AFL-CIO and Change to Win-affiliated – have also thrown their support behind the Occupy protests, in word or deed. Those include the United Auto Workers, Teamsters, United Steelworkers, Transportation Workers, Industrial Workers, National United Nurses, and Laborers’ International. With AFSCME, the SEIU, and the CWA, those account for some of the largest and most politically active labor unions in the nation.

    Unions have long been the political shock troops for the Democratic Party, providing millions in political contributions and invaluable election-day support. The nexus between big government liberals and labor unions is a textbook case of cronyism, as Heritage’s James Sherk has explained. The increase in the share of unionized workers employed by the government – now a majority of all union members – creates perverse political incentives:

    Labor unions’ political activism creates a conflict of interest in government. In the private sector, employer pressure to cut costs balances excessive union wage demands. In the government, unions can use their political influence to elect sympathetic politicians, and then labor and management work together to raise government pay. No one at the bargaining table speaks for the taxpayers.

    But even in the private sector, unions have an overt political agenda, and they use their immense political muscle to enact it. That was ostensibly the trend that the Occupy protests were created to fight. But as more unions back the protestors, it becomes clearer that they are just fine with political insiderism, as long as the insiders are pushing the right (read: liberal) policies.


    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to 'Occupy Wall Street' Steadily Becoming Just Another Big Labor Protest

    1. Bobbie says:

      lets see… they're being driven by government supported unions leads who're using union dues taken out of the checks of all union members to feed this union ignorance and then hold a sign that says "save the American dream?" gosh, did the American dream turn into a dream of indoctrinated American union dictatorship?

      why won't they that pay unions, understand all being paid to influence the attack on the "rich" for more of their money are all in support of more government control!? more government = less freedom! more government = less control of ones own! why won't they absorb that!? Is that really their American dream? SOCIALISM? do unto others as government is paid to instruct you to? the educated brainwash…

      hopefully the rest of protesters will see government and their (government's) little buddy unions nailing the door of opportunities SHUT while stealing freedom and potential away from Americans while using unions members to provoke society, before it's too late…

      fight the good fight! GET OFF YOUR OWS! GET ON YOUR DFL!

    2. Truthsayer says:

      OK Let me explain Reality to you…

      Unions are LARGE groups of Individual Citizens of the WORKING CLASS Nature that BAND TOGETHER TO
      Protect their Jobs and WAGES from Corporate and Private Business Owners. They rose in Response to Slave type Wages and POOR working conditions.

      Unions ARE NOT some Conspiratorial Organization of Small Groups of Wealthy Citizens as CORPORATE BOARDS are.

      As you blast Unions (Large Groups of Working Class Citizens) while you Shower praise upon Small Groups of Greedy Men Wielding Power out of Proportion to their Numbers, realize the American People are wising up.

      You had better change your Game Plan, as the Lies have caught up to you.

      Pray the Baby Boomers hold out another 5-10 years before they grow to old and die off.. As when they do, you and Organizations like you will find yourselves a Platform with no Followers.

      You are in for one rude awakening if you do not change your Tune. We a Plurality of Americans DO NOT subscribe to your Corrupt View of the world, your small minded discriminatory 'Moral' Values.

      Organizations such as this are a Scourge to Our Great Nation, and Independent Moderates like Myself (whom have in fact voted GOP for FAR to long) are truly wising up.

      You had better make this LAST GASP a good one, because when it is over… Your days of being relevant in anyway shape or form will be as well. And when you cease being relevant, that will be a Great Day in American History, a day Our Children and Children's Children will remember as the Day America woke up from its long Nightmare. You are not the keepers of American Values, you are not the Keepers of 'Morality', you are not a 'Moral Majority', you are no Majority AT ALL. You are a Group exercising Influence FAR out of Proportion to your Numbers. This is because your Rich Masters fund you Incredibly well. Your Days are numbered, and you know it full well. Continue your assault on our Nation, it will only make the Backlash against you that much worse. What will you do when the Soldiers side with their Children and parents? What will you do when the Police do as well? The end is near for your ragtag group of Liars and Propagandists and you know it as well as I do.

      Now read this Comment and erase it like the Good little Fascists that you are.

      • Gary Brown says:

        Read the Constitution! You have no idea what you are talking about! Read "The Road to Serfdom". Read "The Federalist Papers": Read Adam Smith's," Wealth of Nations". I've never been hired by a poor person. Do you realize that "Socialism" has been tried already? It doesn't work!
        Proud American

    3. Bob says:

      This has Van Jones, Soros and 0bama all over it

    4. mpcahn says:

      Just because OWS is working with unions doesn't mean they are being co-opted. The main message of occupy wall street is spelled out on their declaration of occupation. Don't jump to quick conclusions based on one right wing article.

      • A Conservative Woman says:

        mpcahn – just a question for you: what flavor is the kool-aid you have been drinking? The OWS isn't being co-opted, it IS the unions. The actual individuals that are embarrassing themselves just aren't aware that they have lost their identities. The unions are just using the people to do their dirty work.

    5. Stirling says:

      "Top down, Bottom up , and Inside out " – Quote from Van Jones.. (communist sympathiser, and ex-obama green czar.) This is what they have in store for fndemental transformation.. Not exactly the hope and change that this country was hoping for after 2008.. Labor is the Bottom up, Our world turned inside out, and the top down (the administration) to the rescue with the trojan horse of help..

    6. ditto2 says:

      … and the tea party sophmores elected in 2010 have taken in > 3.5 million in funds from financial institutions. there goes their anti-special intrest, "we can't be bought" agenda.

      Wait. I have a better idea – make campaigns publically funded and get rid of this aliance between politicans and special interests like unions and banks.

      But you might have to drop by a flea-bitten, ex-hippie filled love in (or general assembly) at your local OWS to see it for yourself first.

      • Bobbie says:

        nobody in the tea party is bought. good way to tell them apart! you're obviously confused.

      • Bobbie says:

        what do you mean taken in > 3.5 million in funds from financial institutions? What financial institutions? is money being used across the country to verbally promote hatred? promote misinformation? promote violence? promote unruly behavior? promote ignorance? how much is the ows costing everyone that pays taxes, including those that have jobs? any money the tea party takes in PROMOTES TRUTH! is that what you're so afraid of? learn the truth, fight for the truth and it will build your strength of character.

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Did the author and HF miss the videos where unions anarchist and agitators admitted on camera they are being paid to protest among the OWS crowd? Now, two months into this Marxist attempt to coop our capitalist system, some wake-up to the facts that Obama's union thugs were behind this from day one. Yet the headlines read " steadly becoming just another big labor protest". Are you joking or are you that naive to not understand this entire matter was union orgnized and sponspored? Sometimes I wonder about the
      competence of some of those that write for HF.

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