A major Democratic support group expressed concern over losing union contributions if workers gain the right to choose whether to pay dues, according to reports Thursday.
Democracy Alliance is a major contributor and advocate for progressive causes. It is also very well funded by the the labor movement, which for decades has been legally allowed to require mandatory dues. Alliance President Gara LaMarche reportedly noted concern at a private donor conference in California April 11 over the risk of unions losing the ability to force workers to fund its activities.
“Whether that defeat is put off for a year or for many years, we would be foolhardy to assume that we will always have the labor resources that have been such a significant engine for progressive politics,” LaMarche said according to prepared remarks obtained by The Washington Free Beacon. “Make no mistake about it, labor is a key anchor of funding progressive campaign and causes.”
LaMarche noted a recent U.S. Supreme Court case as a close call for unions losing funds through mandatory dues. Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other teachers sued the California Teachers Association (CTA), claiming it was violating her right to free speech by requiring union dues. They lost the case when the justices came to a split decision. Justice Antonin Scalia was believed to be the deciding vote but he died Feb. 13.
Lawmakers and advocates have also fought mandatory union dues through the legislative process. West Virginia for instance became the 26 state to pass right-to-work when Republicans successfully overrode a veto Feb. 12 by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The policy outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Labor unions use their funds to represent members and support politicians and causes they like. They most often support Democrats and progressive organizations. Democracy Alliance hopes to overcome any potential shortfall of union funds by expanding outreach to donors. Union contributions currently account for 13 percent of their incoming funds.
Democracy Alliance did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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