Unions focus more on state and local races

Associated Press
FILE - In a Tuesday, March 8, 2011 file photo, potestors stand outside the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. objecting to proposed legislation that would authorize emergency financial managers to throw out union contracts. Unions are supporting a 2012 ballot initiative that would put collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Coates, File)  MANDATORY CREDIT
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FILE - In a Tuesday, March 8, 2011 file photo, potestors stand outside the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. objecting to proposed legislation that would authorize emergency financial managers to throw out union contracts. Unions are supporting a 2012 ballot initiative that would put collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Coates, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unions are shifting more of their political muscle to state and local races this year as they try to block efforts that undermine bargaining rights, make it harder to organize or reduce labor's clout.

Some unions are redirecting money from the presidential and congressional campaigns to races in dozens of states where they feel threatened.

In New Hampshire, unions want to keep the governor's seat in Democratic hands to prevent a right-to-work measure. In Maine and Minnesota, labor leaders hope to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures. And in Michigan, unions aim to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.

The shift comes as labor is still reeling from battles in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states where governors have sought to limit union rights or restrict union power.

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