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“An injury to one is an injury to all”

This mantra of organized labor takes on added importance today as unions are under ever increasing attacks from right-wing extremists like the Koch Brothers who are fighting to roll back over 75 years of labor law. And it’s not just taking away the right to bargain collectively that damages labor; workers are injured every time we choose to pass over a union facility in favor of one with no union contract or one that was built with scab labor.

Candidates and staff spend a great deal of time on the road while campaigning in Minnesota’s 8th congressional district, which spans from the Canadian Border to the fringes of the Twin Cites Metropolitan Area. Expenses for lodging and meals while traveling, and for events like fundraisers and meetings typically account for a sizable chunk of a campaign’s operating expenditures. As union membership has dwindled over the past decade, the number of union hotels, bars and restaurants has significantly decreased in northern Minnesota as well. Thus it is imperative for the health of the labor movement that we support those businesses that have negotiated union contracts with their employees, and we should expect no less from our labor-endorsed candidates. Any candidate who refuses to spend union contributions at union facilities is no street friend of organized labor no matter what they say in the union hall.

As in Part 2, a review of 2012 year-end FEC reports filed by all four of the labor-endorsed candidates for 8th district congress yielded some surprises. Only one, Rick Nolan, stayed exclusively at union hotels while traveling the northern part of the district, and his report also reflects several expenditures at union facilities for meals, fundraisers and meeting space. Republican Chip Cravaack stayed primarily at non-union facilities (including one built with scab labor) yet patronized union facilities for lodging and fundraisers more often than Democrat Jeff Anderson. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Anderson’s expenses for food and lodging were incurred in union-friendly Duluth, his FEC report reflects just two stays at union hotels, and no expenditures at union facilities for meals or fundraisers. Tarryl Clark’s FEC report reflects no itemized expenditures for lodging, meals or fundraisers, so it is impossible to discern exactly where she spent her money.

Detailed analysis of campaign expenditures begins tomorrow with Jeff Anderson for Minnesota.

Cross posted from Iron Country Free Press

Originally posted to keewatinrose on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 10:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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