Does Union Leadership Fairly Represent Member Interests?
We think not. In fact, Private Sector Unions are out of step with the economic interest and public opinion of rank-and-file members.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which dominates West Coast ports, is composed of the highest-paid blue-collar workers in America. The average full-time wages for fully registered workers are $142,000 on top of a non-wage benefits package costing more than $82,000 per active worker per year. Their jobs are 100 percent dependent on trade, yet their leadership and federal lobbyists oppose every trade deal you can name.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents more than half a million workers. The largest employer of machinists by a wide margin is Boeing, which is also the nation’s largest exporter. In fact, approximately 80 percent of all Boeing aircrafts are sold overseas. And yet the machinists are lobbying against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is indispensable to cutting the tariffs and other barriers that shut U.S. aircrafts and other goods and services out of foreign markets.
While private sector union leadership and lobbyists rail against common sense foreign trade agreements and policies, the rank-and-file supports pro-trade policy. A recent survey commissioned by the Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity found the following:
66 percent of private sector union members approve of President Obama's handling of issues related to global trade. This is higher than their 57 percent job approval rating overall.
53 percent of private sector union members approve of the USTR handling of issues related to global trade.
A large majority of private sector union members trust the president (42 percent) and USTR (35 percent) over Congress (8 percent) to handle/manage/negotiate global trade deals.
More private sector union members trust the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (34 percent) than "unions like the AFL/CIO" (24 percent) by a 10-point margin.
67 percent of private sector union members believe open markets increase global value chains and lead to better paying American jobs.
69 percent of private sector union members agree that global trade agreements are generally good for American farmers, workers and job creators.
75 percent of private sector union members believe global trade agreements are necessary to ensure U.S. generated IP and copyrights are respected in foreign markets.
** The overall survey was conducted among 1,812 registered voters with a margin of error of +/ – 2.3%