Labor unions wounded by a GOP-led war on collective-bargaining rights are plotting their revenge.
Top labor leaders say they expect to spend more than ever on both state and federal contests this year. And if recent elections are any indicator, unions could drop more than $450 million, which they reportedly doled out in the 2008 election.
Even in an age of billionaire-backed super PACs, that kind of money could have a major impact on a fight, particularly at the state and local level, where unions plan to focus their attention.
The union playbook: safeguard Democratic governors’ seats, flip state legislatures and hamstring anti-union ballot initiatives.
“I think that the labor movement as a whole will be stepping up, and that will mean in this post-Citizens United world, having to spend more resources in this cycle,” said AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer. But more cash going to state and local elections won’t come at the expense of federal races, he added. “This is a period of crisis for workers and the labor movement has to step up and be present at all levels of government to protect workers.”
In Wisconsin, though, Tommy Thompson isn’t running for the seat being vacated by Herb Kohl on his own spendthrift record, but on Scott Walker’s sharp fiscal conservatism.