New Tone, Hidden Strategies
An interesting passage from Steve Peoples’s second part to the Projo’s series on local unions:
LABOR UNIONS and their allies walk a fine line when it comes to influencing elections. State and federal campaign finance laws have strict limits on what is, and isn’t, permissible.
That may be why Ocean State Action is actually made up of three distinct organizations — the Ocean State Action Fund, Ocean State Action and the Progressive Leadership Fund — although their boards have common members and the organizations have the same staff. …
Federal law does not limit labor’s ability to communicate with its own members.
Labor has detailed lists of the names, addresses and contact information for the estimated 75,000 union members in Rhode Island. Union canvassers can visit the households as many times as they want, send unlimited mailing or make unlimited phone calls.
It isn’t my purpose, here, to spark a discussion of any of the laws involved in making this dizzying accountant’s dream legal. Rather, I’m curious how folks believe this comprehensive lobbying strategy fits in with some related positions in the economic platform put forward by Mr. Barack “New Tone, Stop the Special Interests” Obama, such as fighting to ensure the “freedom to unionize” and working “to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.” There’s also some overlap in his vision of “comprehensive energy independence and climate change plan” and, say, the Green Jobs Alliance.
There’s an ecologically sound bridge that Mr. Obama would like to sell (via tax dollars) to those who actually believe that he is a creature of compromise heretofore unseen in Washington.