If you guessed 100%, you’d be wrong — though not by much.
The center compiled a comprehensive database of information about unions that includes spending, salary information, dues revenue data, and more using data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
DOL data show that between 2012 and 2016 roughly $240 million went to left-wing political groups. Labor unions gave $77 million to special interest groups and another $13 million to environmental groups. Over $25 million went to groups like the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Rainbow Push Coalition.
During this same time frame, almost $307 million went to the Democratic Party and aligned groups including, Media Matters, the Clinton Foundation, Mi Familia Vota, the National Democratic Club, The Advocacy Fund, Progressive Democrats of America, and Planned Parenthood.
Money given to these groups and labor union spending on abortion funding, however, is almost exclusively unapproved. Union members must consent to candidate contributions and super PAC spending by affirming they are part of the union, but the same is not true for political advocacy. Thus, union member dues end up going toward political causes — like abortion advocacy — disguised as representational activity.
Here is how much a few pro-abortion groups received from labor unions since 2007, according to Center for Union Facts Communications Director Luka Ladan:
- Planned Parenthood: $1.18 million
- Emily’s List: $810,000
- NARAL Pro-Choice America: $45,000
Here are the dollar amounts since 2007 that a few labor unions have given for abortion lobby funding:
- Teachers Union (AFT): $1,150,000
- State, County, and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME): $520,100
- International Association Of Firefighters (IAFF): $10,000
- Service Employees Union (SEIU): $180,000
- Plumbers Union (UA): $40,000
- Auto Workers Union (UAW): $100,000
- United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW): $35,000
Groups like the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) also support abortion advocacy projects like the Contraceptive Equity Project that fights to guarantee insurance companies will cover comprehensive contraception services including abortion. The group did not reply to multiple requests for comment.
SEIU spent $12.1 million in the 2010 campaign cycle to advocate for Democratic candidates and another $3.5 million to oppose Republican candidates. The AFSCME also spent more than $12.4 million, $9.5 million of which went to combatting Republican candidates, according to federal campaign filings.
Union membership is far from unanimous politically. Roughly 40% of union household members vote Republican in any given election.
“For years, labor unions have hijacked member dues to fund Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, and other pro-abortion groups,” Center for Union Facts expert Ladan told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email, adding:
Yet many union members oppose the abortion lobby. The Employee Rights Act would require union officials to obtain permission before spending dues dollars on left-wing political advocacy.”
The Employee Rights Act, which was introduced to the House in May, would stop unfair labor union practices and provide workers with protections enabling them to select or refrain from representation by labor unions. The act — H.R. 2723 — would require union officials to obtain permission from their members before spending dues money on liberal causes they may oppose.
Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the AFL-CIO, said in July on a “listening tour” that unions have done a poor job of listening to members.
“We may have gotten too close to one party,” Bloomingdale said. “We should be for people who are for us, regardless of party label.” Bloomingdale did not respond to The DCNF’s request for comment.
The majority of union members, including pro-life members, have no idea that their money is funding the abortion lobby, said Ladan. “Big Labor doesn’t really want to publicize it,” he added.
The NEA, UAW, AFT, and AFSCME did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
This report, by Grace Carr, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.