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Many a message was sent on Election Day. But perhaps the loudest came from blue-collar employees who, in voting for President-elect Trump, turned their backs on union bosses.

The disconnect between union leadership, which overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton, and union membership is telling. In 2016, labor leaders made more than $142 million in campaign contributions, almost 90 percent of it to Democrats. This is nearly double Big Labor’s total in 2008.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the National Education Association led the way with roughly $20 million. The AFL-CIO gave roughly $11.5 million, while the Service Employees International Union — the primary backer of the job-killing fight for a $15 hourly minimum wage — pledged $3 million.

Big Labor’s liberal politicking transcends direct campaign contributions. Newly released Center for Union Facts research shows that Big Labor sent nearly $530 million to Democrats and closely aligned liberal special interest groups from 2012-15 — 99 percent of their entire advocacy budget.

The Democratic Governors Association received more than $10 million, while Catalist, the Democratic Party’s go-to data firm, raked in more than $7 million. Controversial advocacy groups run by Al Sharpton (National Action Network) and Jesse Jackson (Rainbow PUSH Coalition) received hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years.

All this, yet 2016 exit polls show that 43 percent of those in union households voted Republican. In states like Ohio, most union household voters supported the Republican Party while union bosses funneled millions in member dues the other way.

It’s no wonder that union members want labor leaders to heed their concerns instead of playing politics as usual. According to a Rasmussen poll conducted before the election, only 20 percent of likely voters believed that union bosses “do a good job representing union members.”

Nearly 60 percent of voters claimed that union bosses are “out of touch” with most of their members around the country. Even among current or former union members, only 25 percent have a favorable view of union leadership.

The $530 million in political advocacy spending comes straight from member dues (still mandatory in non-right-to-work states) and is theoretically reserved for collective bargaining purposes. But current labor law enables union bosses to fund implicitly political causes while disguising it as worker advocacy.

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It leaves the substantial minority of union members (or, in some states, a majority) who voted for Trump and other Republican candidates paying for advocacy that flies in the face of their beliefs.

For this reason, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., reintroduced the Employee Rights Act, which would substantially update American labor law for the first time since the 1940s.

Now supported by 170 members of Congress, the Employee Rights Act would guarantee secret ballot union elections, which are still not required under current labor law, and periodic recertification elections when a workplace has experienced significant turnover.

Perhaps most importantly, the Employee Rights Act would require union bosses to obtain opt-in permission from their members before spending dues dollars on political activities unrelated to collective bargaining. This prevents Big Labor from hijacking hundreds of millions of dollars in member dues while bankrolling a left-wing agenda.

Union members are already on board. The bill’s key provisions, including protection from unapproved political spending, register more than 80 percent approval among those in union households.

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Congress should answer their cries for help and pass the Employee Rights Act.

Richard Berman is executive director of the Center for Union Facts. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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