By Victor Skinner
WASHINGTON, DC – It’s election time, and Big Labor is on a spending spree to elect its favorite candidates and promote its self-centered mission across the country.
And teachers unions are again among the top political spenders, throwing the vast majority of their support behind Democratic candidates and efforts to thwart school choice movements.
The Washington Times reports that several labor unions are preparing to spend a total of $122 million on politics in the final weeks before the election through a system of super PACs they created. That’s ironic, since union bosses have repeatedly criticized super PACS as tools for corporate politicking.
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, is at the head of the pack, dolling out millions to those politicians willing to put union interests first and foremost.
“Seven unions have also established their own super PACs. Since July, those super PACs have run $42 million worth of ads and canvassing, including $14 million in the presidential race, $3.8 million on the Wisconsin Senate race and $2.8 million on the Ohio Senate race, plus $13 million on House candidates,” the newspaper reports.
“In recent weeks, there have been signs they are readying more ads. In late September, the National Education Association transferred $3.3 million to its super PAC, and the AFL-CIO transferred $3.1 million.”
The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union in America, gave a half-million dollars to “an aggressive group called Patriot Majority, with a self-professed mission to fight back against the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers’ ‘greed agenda’ by … making large ad buys – $5.3 million worth in recent months – without disclosing the source of its funds.”
Patriot Majority is a Big Labor front group that’s funded entirely by unions, the newspaper reports.
The NEA has sent at least $500,000 to the Moving Ohio Forward PAC, another labor front group that’s expected to champion President Obama’s “Move America Forward” re-election campaign in the final weeks before Nov. 6.
In Washington state, the NEA gave $250,000 to a campaign working to defeat a ballot proposal that would allow a limited number of charter schools in the state, the Seattle Times reports.
Despite evidence that charter schools help many struggling students who come from failing public schools, the teachers union wants to keep its current monopoly over education in the state and is willing to pay the hefty price to keep kids trapped.
The heavy spending illustrates that the priorities of Big Labor, and teachers unions specifically, are clearly not focused on improving the lot of middle-class Americans or poor and minority students who are woefully neglected by our public school system.
The unions are putting their money where they always have – with the politicians and campaigns that will protect union interests and union dues revenue.