The Colorado AFL-CIO will stop donating to the state Democratic Party for at least the next year, according to the union branch’s head.
Executive Director Dennis Dougherty claimed Democrats “excluded” the union from policy discussions and said their prioritization of business input on legislation over workers prompted the decision to withhold campaign contributions until mid-May 2022.
“We have … been excluded from caucus discussions about policy creation in favor of bringing business and opposition groups to the table, disregarded as allies and relegated to afterthoughts,” Dougherty told fellow union leaders in a letter. “Working people are the heart and soul of the economy and the key to a well-functioning society and should be the first group to be consulted as we repair the past, recover from the pandemic and build back stronger.”
The state’s AFL-CIO executive board decided it “shall not contribute to the Colorado Democratic Party through the House Majority Project, Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, Pre-Legislative session events, the Colorado Democratic annual event/dinner in April, or any other channels/events” until at least mid-May next year, Dougherty wrote.
“There is too much at stake for Colorado’s union members and working families for us to be excluded from policy discussions … and for us to be an afterthought during the creation and introduction of legislation that affects our members,” Dougherty said. “We need the Colorado Democratic Party to treat us like authentic partners.”
Democratic state Senate President Leroy Garcia and House Speaker Alec Garnett said the letter took them by surprise.
“If there’s areas of improvement, I’m willing to talk to anyone about how we can increase collaboration,” Garcia said, according to the Colorado Sun.
Dougherty’s letter reportedly lacked specific instances of the 130,000-member state union being excluded from policy discussions. The Washington Examiner reached out to Dougherty for further comment on the board's decision.
The national AFL-CIO, which endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020, lobbies for a key target Democratic constituency, representing roughly 12.5 million workers across industries and holding significant political sway.
Efforts by leaders at member unions the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Air Line Pilots Association, which represent in-flight crew members across multiple airlines, helped secure billions of dollars in aid from Congress over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman