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Unions invest in N.C. Democrats

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:12 PM
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Unions invest in N.C. Democrats

Most of the $3.4 million labor unions have given N.C. lawmakers since '03 went to Democrats.
BY BARBARA BARRETT - Washington Correspondent
Published: Fri, Aug. 21, 2009 05:16AM
Modified Fri, Aug. 21, 2009 05:20AM

WASHINGTON -- Labor unions trying to shape the nation's health-reform debate have poured millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of North Carolina lawmakers in recent years.

Since 2003, unions have spent $3.4 million to elect allies from the Tar Heel state to the U.S. House and Senate. Nearly all of it has gone to Democrats.

North Carolina, a right-to-work state, has the second-lowest union representation and the lowest union membership rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

But key voting blocs, including state workers and many service workers, are represented by labor groups such as the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Labor groups have organized rallies, town hall meetings, phone banks and advertising in support of health-care reform.

"It's been our No. 1 legislative priority for a long time," said Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, the local affiliate of the SEIU.

Cope led dozens of members to Washington early this summer to rally on Capitol Hill and encourage lawmakers to support a public option -- a government-backed alternative to private insurance companies that could be used by the uninsured.

With lawmakers home for the August recess, the group is holding town hall meetings across the state to talk about health reform.

FULL story at link.

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