Some Democrats in Congress have gotten their feelings hurt over how they’re being bullied by their union bosses on a controversial trade deal and are quietly complaining about it, according to a Politco article earlier this week.
Unions have long opposed Congress giving Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the free-trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership—or “NAFTA on steroids,” as it is often referred to.
Not only is Obama facing opposition from certain Republicans in the House, but he is also facing strong opposition from members of his own Democratic Party, many of whom rely on unions to support them in elections.
Now, with a Repiublican split jeopardizing Obama’s trade deal, unions are reportedly threatening Democrats with dire consequences if they support back the President’s trade agenda.
Unions, according to Politico, told Rep. Scott Peters [D-CA] that a vote “yes” on fast-track authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and unions would “spend a million dollars to knock him out in next year’s primary. If he managed to win, they’d drop another million against him in the general election.”
“They were very heavy-handed. And it was not appreciated. And it will not be forgotten,” said one Democratic staffer for a member who will be voting no on trade, as the unions want.
This staffer and other Democratic members and staffers who spoke under the condition of anonymity related a range of threats from local and national labor groups to pressure Democrats into opposing Obama.
Unions, according to Politico, are threatening Democrats who do not side with them on trade to permanently cut off campaign funding, support their opponents, run TV ads (like the one below), and launch protests.
Rep. Mike Quigley [D-IL] was recently the target of union protests over his stance on the TPP.
— ILFTC (@ILFTC) May 28, 2015