• Several states voted on legislation affecting collective bargaining and organizing rights during the November elections. Michigan voters rejected a labor-backed proposal to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the constitution, as well as a proposed constitutional amendment that would have established a Quality Home Care Counsel to organize home health care providers through SEIU. Michigan Emergency Manager P.A. 4, providing for expanded authority to void union contracts in bankruptcy proceedings, was also rejected. California voters rejected Proposition 32, which would have prohibited unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. The win came at a high cost for union groups, who put more than $75 million into the campaign, compared to $60 million contributed by California conservative groups and out of state Super PACs. Alabama voters passed Amendment 7, a constitutional amendment requiring secret ballot voting in union representation elections.
  • President Obama and Vice President Biden met with leaders from AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, and the National Education Association, to discuss ways to keep the economy growing and find approaches to reduce the deficit. Following the meeting, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that Obama is committed to preserving tax breaks for the middle class and that labor groups will work with the White House to maintain tax and federal benefits for the middle class.
  • In a post election interview with The Atlantic, AFL-CIO President Trumka predicted that “card-check” legislation will happen during President Obama’s second term and announced that passage of card-check legislation during Obama’s second term will be a priority. The proposed legislation would eliminate secret ballot voting in union organization efforts and was a top priority of labor unions during Obama’s first term.
  • Union election efforts throughout the U.S., and particularly in Ohio, reflected a motivated and active pro-labor turn out. In the four days leading up to the election, AFL-CIO members and volunteers contacted 800,000 voters in Ohio and registered 68,000 new voters. Union leaders say that momentum in Ohio started in 2011 in response to a Republican effort to ban public sector strikes and limit collective bargaining rights that was later repealed by an overwhelming majority. During the campaign, AFL-CIO claims to have made 80 million phone calls to union members and working-class households, knocked on more than 14 million doors, and sent more than 75 million pieces of mail throughout the country. Other unions also report large-scale election efforts. Working America claims to have contacted more than 3 million swing or undecided voters; SEIU knocked on more than 3.7 million doors in battleground states; more than 18,000 USW volunteers participated in get out the vote efforts on Election Day; and more than 15,000 CWA volunteers participated in election efforts in more than 38 states.
  • A survey by Hart Research Associates, which was revealed during a press conference by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, showed that 65% of union members nationwide voted for President Obama, compared to 50% for all voters. The number was even higher in Ohio, where 70% of union voters supported Obama. During the conference, Trumka stated that, following the election, the AFL-CIO would continue to press members of Congress on government benefits and tax issues. Trumka expressed a similar message during a NMB-sponsored conference, declaring that AFL-CIO, in affiliation with Working America, will expand organization efforts by engaging with millions of unemployed workers who do not belong to a union and by helping organize employees in new industries, such as car wash workers and taxi drivers.
  • SEIU emerged as the top outside spender on Democratic campaigns during the past election cycle, surpassing even President Obama’s primary super PAC. Although SEIU is not required to disclose all campaign expenditures to the Federal Election Commission, reports thus far reveal that the union funded at least $70 million in campaign donations, TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts for Obama and other democrats. The main Democratic super PAC spent $54 in reelection efforts.
  • AFSCME, SEIU, and National Education Association teamed up to produce television radio advertisements calling on Congress to refrain from cutting education funding, Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security as part of a “grand bargain” to resolve the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The ads ran in Colorado, Missouri, Virginia, Alaska, Missouri and Pennsylvania and coincided with the unions’ release of a survey purporting to show that most Americans oppose cuts to federal benefits or education in order to balance the budget. The survey, conducted by the Mellman Group, shows that a “clear majority” of Americans opposed resolving the deficit talks through raising taxes on the wealthy while cutting entitlement programs or simply cutting benefits programs.