Unions show muscle, spent millions in state races
by Sam Hananel, Associated Press
November 19, 2012 03:15 PM | 587 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This June 25, 2012 file photo shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaking in Chicago. When Maggie Hassan won the New Hampshire governor's race, it wasn't just a victory for Democrats. Unions spent millions to elect Hassan because she can block a Republican legislature from gutting their organizing and bargaining ability. From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to defeat ballot initiatives against them and elect labor-friendly governors and lawmakers. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
This June 25, 2012 file photo shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaking in Chicago. When Maggie Hassan won the New Hampshire governor's race, it wasn't just a victory for Democrats. Unions spent millions to elect Hassan because she can block a Republican legislature from gutting their organizing and bargaining ability. From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to defeat ballot initiatives against them and elect labor-friendly governors and lawmakers. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
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This Nov. 6, 2012 file photo shows New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan in Manchester, N.H. When Hassan won the New Hampshire governor's race, it wasn't just a victory for Democrats. Unions spent millions to elect Hassan because she can block a Republican legislature from gutting their organizing and bargaining ability. From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to defeat ballot initiatives against them and elect labor-friendly governors and lawmakers. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
This Nov. 6, 2012 file photo shows New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan in Manchester, N.H. When Hassan won the New Hampshire governor's race, it wasn't just a victory for Democrats. Unions spent millions to elect Hassan because she can block a Republican legislature from gutting their organizing and bargaining ability. From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to defeat ballot initiatives against them and elect labor-friendly governors and lawmakers. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — When Maggie Hassan won the New Hampshire governor’s race this month, it wasn’t just a victory for fellow Democrats.

Unions spent millions backing Hassan because she opposes a right-to-work bill that would ban labor-management contracts requiring affected workers to be union members or pay fees.

From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to help install Democratic governors, build labor-friendly majorities in legislatures and defeat ballot initiatives against them.

The combination of union money and member mobilization helped Democrats take control of state legislatures in Maine and Minnesota. In Michigan, voters repealed a law that allowed cities in financial distress to suspend collective bargaining contracts.

Unions’ most important victory was defeating a California ballot measure that would have prohibited them from collecting money from payroll deductions for political purposes.

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