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Union Facts

Use of Dues for Politics

voteEvery day, millions of union members have money taken from their paychecks to support some union presidents’ political agenda. Labor leaders have made the use of employee money for political causes a popular practice — but it’s far less popular among the public and union members themselves.

Left-Leaning Advocacy

Labor unions are massive funders of the Democratic Party as well as left-leaning political advocacy. From 2010 to 2018, union officials sent more than $1.6 billion in member dues to hundreds of liberal advocacy groups aligned with the Democratic Party—without prior member approval. That accounts for 99 percent of the union money going toward political advocacy during that time period.

According to Open Secrets, labor unions spent over $50 million on politics in 2022 alone – the vast majority of that money went to Democrats.

This spending does not align with the political ideologies of actual union members. According to 2023 polling data from Morning Consult, 51 percent of labor union members identified as a Democrat. In fact, the share of U.S. union members who identify as liberal was just 36 percent. Another 28 percent identified as being in the center of the ideological spectrum.

Union Members and the American Public Support Political Protections

According to 2022 polling data, three quarters of Americans support requiring unions to get permission from members before using a portion of their dues to support political causes or candidates. The same percent of union households also support this policy.

Public-Sector Union Political Spending

Recent data shows that public-sector unions send 90 percent of the money spent on politics to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party at the state and federal level. Learn more about public-sector union political spending.

Landmark Cases

For more information about the political donations of a specific union, click here.