Tom Perez, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), just made his pitch to union voters. He wasted his breath.
“I understand that in this election many people who voted in the past for Barack Obama or other Democrats decided to vote differently—and I respect those choices,” Perez recently told an audience at the United Steelworkers' (USW) annual convention. He went on to tell the gathered union members that Democrats “have to earn your trust.”
But it didn't take long for the DNC head to attack newly confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch, claiming that the new justice is “poised to make it even harder to organize.”
That's right: Tom Perez's message to union members who voted for President Trump is that the Supreme Court will make union organizing more difficult. Why would union members—many of whom didn't even vote for their union—care when they've already been organized? Less than 10 percent of union members ever voted for the union currently “representing” them.
In many workplaces, the same union leadership remains in power even as the workforce experiences substantial turnover. The current employees have no realistic chance to assess their leadership through a recertification elections. To them, Perez is like a hostage-taker sermonizing about freedom.
Corporate interests. Anti-union. An attack on working families. Perez and Democrats instinctively recycle the same stale talking points, only to see more union members leave them at the altar. According to a Rasmussen poll conducted before the election, only 20 percent of Americans see labor leaders as “do[ing] a good job representing union members.” Even among current or former union members, only 25 percent have a favorable view of union leadership.
The message is clear: Blue-collar employees have lost their patience with union elites. And for good reason: A simple look at union financial disclosures reveals that many union bosses are in the top one to three percent of earners. Hundreds of union officials have massive six-figure incomes while they rail against corporate “fat cats.”
And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Just last year, the United Steelworkers paid nearly $95,000 for “luxurious rooms [and] award-winning cuisine” at the Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh. The union dropped another $66,374 on a single occasion at the nearby Sheraton Pittsburgh. In Washington, D.C., the USW paid roughly $100,000 for a single night at the upscale Omni Shoreham Hotel, while spending thousands of dollars on Pittsburgh Steelers tickets. “We believe in better,” the union claims on its website. Well, that much is clear.
And USW leadership is not alone in its excessive tastes. These examples—funded by mandatory dues—have become the rule rather than the exception.
Can you blame union members for being fed up? Millions of union Obama voters saw in President Trump a problem-solver, someone who can hold elites accountable, while creating jobs and renegotiating the same trade deals that have destroyed countless American factories. As Bernie Marcus, the co-founder and first CEO of The Home Depot, recently wrote, “He’s clear-cutting the path to robust economic growth.”
Did union household voters in Ohio—who overwhelmingly voted for President Trump after supporting President Obama four years earlier—also have an agenda where their dues will fund new organizing campaigns? Does Perez believe that they are interested in corralling more employees into a mandatory funding scam?
Memo to Perez: The problem isn't some anti-union boogeyman. It's your agenda.