WASHINGTON (AP) — The AFL-CIO hopes to boost its clout by launching a new political action committee that could raise unlimited amounts of money, part of the federation’s goal of building a year-round political organizing structure.
Forming a so-called “super labor PAC” would allow the labor federation to raise money from sympathetic donors both inside and outside union membership and mobilize support beyond its traditional base, instead of ramping up political activities each election cycle.
The move would also help steer more of labor’s money to state legislative battles, where unions have been battling efforts to curb union rights in states like Wisconsin and Ohio.
“The essential idea is that changes in the law for the first time really allow the labor movement to speak directly to workers, whether they have collective bargaining agreements or not,” AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer said in an interview. “Before, most political resources went to our own membership.”
Unions remain a pillar of the Democratic Party, spending about $400 million to help elect President Barack Obama in 2008 and directing another $200 million to help Democrats during the 2010 mid-term elections. That includes both campaign contributions and organized labor’s extensive get-out-the-vote efforts that help steer Democratic-leaning voters from union households to the polls.