Public Sector Unions are a Shadow Political Party

In recent months Washington has been rocked by scandals such the IRS's manipulation of tax exempt status for political groups opposing the Democratic Party.  This is just the most recent example of how federal public sector unions have been clandestinely involved in public policy.  Looking back, it can be seen that the involvement of Federal public unions in the American political system began in January, 1962 when President Kennedy established collective bargaining powers for Federal workers, by Executive Order 10988,.


There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that establishes or condones the use of collective bargaining by federal workers.  The Founding Fathers did not want a separate elite political class to seize political control of the country, yet that is exactly what has happened since the establishment of public sector unions. 


How public sector unions obtained this power is a little-discussed phenomenon, since the media are largely supportive of this seizure of power and administrative control of public policy.


The power of public sector unions has been aided by three characteristics of the unions. One, they have a virtual monopoly on many government jobs.  Almost all teachers must join a teachers' union.  There are millions of members in the two largest teachers' unions.  Secondly, they are able to make cash contributions to the campaigns of politicians.  The Center for Responsive Politics reports that of the thirteen biggest campaign contributors from 1989-2012, four are public sector unions, and they give the great bulk of their money to Democrats.  In the past 23 years, AFSCME gave only one percent of its donations to the GOP; the SEIU two percent, the American Federal of Teachers zero percent, and the National Education Association four percent.   And third, while not all public sector union members are in the Democratic Party, the vast majority of them are.


These three characteristics, in combination, have enabled public sector unions to achieve a level of influence on policy-making and regulatory enforcement that has changed the lives of Americans.  While the Constitution is very careful to place limits on the powers of Congress and clearly states that all powers not given to Congress reside with the states, public sector unions have effectively seized control of most of the regulatory powers of agencies and the enforcement of these regulations, since their union member network is able to reach from the largest Federal agencies into the smallest school districts and municipal governments. 


Public sector unions are best understood as a nationwide political organization, within government, that operates clandestinely and with powers often granted only to Congress by the Constitution.  In Illinois the two teachers' unions are the number one campaign contributors to the Democratic Party and they endorse candidates in the state who agree to maintain their contracts. They work in collusion with the Dept. of Education in Washington to obtain Federal grant money for hundreds of programs in education, thereby supporting the areas they administer with outside dollars.


Private industry campaign contributors also seek to influence the decision makers in Washington.  Some of those in the Defense industry include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.  But these do not prefer one party over another.  Campaign records show that they sit on the fence and contribute equally to both parties. 


The major differences between private industry campaign contributors and public sector unions involve institutionalization and longevity. Public union employees are promoting the Democratic Party's agenda for the decades they work for the government.  If anyone wants to teach in schools controlled by the teachers' union, their pro-government philosophy will be taught to them by other teachers who are already in the union.


One can then ask if there is a functional difference between a political party and a public sector union.  What they share in common is that they both raise money, both contribute to political campaigns, and both have a say on which candidates appear on the ballot.


Historically those who held patronage jobs in Chicago and other cities run by the Democratic Machine gave campaign contributions and worked to get Democratic candidates reelected.  The SEIU had members of their union work on campaigns for Barack Obama and other candidates in 2012.  Their goal was to make 13 million phone calls, knock on more than 3 million doors and hold more than 1 million conversations across the country.


Employees working in Washington agencies also supported the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Bagley, an employee of the U.S. Dept. of State, was the third highest bundler for Obama and raised $1.4 million for his 2012 campaign.  And of those IRS lawyers who gave money to campaigns, 95% gave to Obama.  Others lawyers working in the EPA, Federal Trade Commission, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Education, National Labor Relations Board, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave in identical proportions. 


In 1969 Michael Shakman, an independent candidate for delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitution Convention, sued the Democratic Organization of Cook County, IL, alleging that government workers were hired and fired on the basis of loyalty to the Democratic Party.  While SCOTUS refused to hear the case, a Federal Court enjoined the Chicago Machine from "knowingly causing or permitting any employee to do any partisan political work during the regular working hours of his or her governmental employment."   While the Federal ruling only applied to Cook County government, the principle is the same: government workers cannot use their time to promote one political party over others.


To the extent that party loyalty to one political party is promoted, the Fourteenth Amendment due protection clause is violated.  Since public sector unions are overwhelmingly Democratic in party affiliation, one could conclude that public sector unions are promoting one Party over all others and are unconstitutional. 


The nature of this constitutional corruption is that it is not visible, documentable corruption such as bribery.  Rather, it is process corruption; it is corruption of the legislative and regulatory functions of government at all levels.  Many laws such as ObamaCare leave specifics of the regulations to the discretion of the government officials and union members who have sole power to administer the laws.


So by extension, Congress allows the public sector unions to write the rules.  These regulations are listed in the Federal Register.


Public sector unions can best be understood as holding political patronage jobs that make them beholden to the national Democratic Party.  This multi-million member Machine reaches into every nook and cranny of government and is the greatest threat to the socio-political structure of the U.S.  It is unconstitutional in nature.  The Shakman ruling, which established that the government cannot use taxpayer paid salaries and require government employees to work in one political party over all others, should be used to eliminate the influence this shadow party has over government.