March 31, 2017

Political Action

The UAW’s Voluntary Community Action Program (VCAP) raises money for congressional candidates through voluntary contributions by members and retirees.

Download V-CAP Authorization Form (Return to Bret Taylor, bjtaylor@legal-aid.org, 50 Broadway Suite 1600, New York, NY 10004)

What is VCAP?

  • Money that is voluntarily contribute day members and retirees to the UAW Political Action Committee to support candidates for Congress;
  • Only VCAP money can be given to Congressional candidates – up to limits established by the FEC.  Union dues cannot be used for this purpose;
  • VCAP dollars are spent to support candidates who support us.  In 2010, 93% of money given by organized labor was given to Democrats; 6% was given to Republican candidates.

Where does VCAP money come from?

  • ALAA members at the Legal Aid Society can sign up for voluntary monthly payments to be deducted from the paycheck, as per our Collective Bargaining Agreement with The Society.  Members at other units can sign up for monthly recurring payments.

Why do we need VCAP?

  • Collective bargaining rights are being gutted across the country;
  • Right to Work legislation being pushed everywhere;
  • Economic and jobs crisis that needs attention now;
  • Unions such as postal workers, public sector and FAA workers having their rights eroded through budget fights;
  • In 2010, the US Supreme Court opened the floodgates to unlimited spending in elections through its Citizens United decision.  The decision held that corporate spending for independent (i.e. not coordinated with candidate) political commercials cannot be limited.  This decision has led to numerous right-wing groups such as Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers) and American for Prosperity (Koch brothers) and American Crossroads (Karl Rove) pouring millions onto the airwaves to advance their agendas;
  • Top four conservative groups currently give twice the amount of money to politicians as all labor unions put together.

Is Money the Only Thing that Matters?

  • No.  As labor unions we have the ability to mount grassroots campaigns supporting pro-worker candidates to for office.  However, that takes money and resources to support.

What is a Pro-Worker Candidate?

The UAW supports candidates for office who support the issues that matter to our members.  These issues include:

  • Funding for programs that benefit our members and their professions;
  • Collective bargaining and fair labor rights;
  • Affordable, quality and accessible healthcare for everyone;
  • Progressive and fair taxation;
  • Civil and Human rights.

How do we assess a candidate’s commitment to pro-worker issues?

  • The UAW asks candidates to complete a questionnaire followed by an interview with the appropriate CAP Council to which all local unions have a position;
  • Based on the candidate’s responses to the questionnaire, the CAP Council recommends endorsement or not;
  • The UAW Legislative Department annually rates members of Congress on how they voted on issues prioritized by the UAW;
  • These ratings are shared with each UAW Region so they can assess if their endorsed candidates are voting as they indicated they would when endorsed;
  • The UAW rarely gives VCAP dollars to a candidates whose rating is less than 90%-100%;
  • Through our Region 9A CAP Council, members have a voice on these decisions.

How does the UAW compare to other unions in raising VCAP dollars?

  • Average giving across most UAW local union and retiree chapters is between $2 and $5 per month;
  • Some unions recently researched by the UAW ask and get their members to give between $7 and $9 per month.