Report Summary: The PRO Act and Union Finances
*This is a summary highlighting the main points of a report authored by I4AW Senior Fellow Nathan Mehrens titled, “The PRO Act and Union Finances.” You can review the full report here.
- The PRO Act will increase the membership of unions in the private sector and increase the number of individuals who must financially support them.
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data show that unions under their jurisdiction already receive over $11 billion per year in dues and fees.
- If these unions can increase their membership to the level that existed in 1983 (16.8 percent, up from 6.3 percent today), the dues they receive could, under a conservative estimate, exceed $20 billion per year.
- This would give unions additional resources to use on things like political activities and lobbying, potentially allowing them to spend $3 billion per two-year election cycle in this category.
- For 2020, unions reported to DOL that they spent $791 million on politics and lobbying.
- Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission overlap with many items in the DOL reports but do not contain as many items, however, FEC data does breakdown union political action committee spending by political party. During the 2020 election cycle union political spending reported to the FEC was split roughly 87 percent to support Democrats, and 13 percent to support Republicans.
- If unions’ political and lobbying spending increases to $3 billion per cycle, that means an additional $660 million per year.
- Assuming the same split continues going forward, this additional $660 million per year would likely result in $574 million more per year to support Democrats and $86 million more per year to support Republicans.