By Robin Bravender, Politico
Major unions are giving a heftier slice of campaign donations than usual to pro-labor Republicans this election cycle, even as overall union contributions to members of Congress lags.
Labor insiders say there’s extra incentive to support their GOP friends this cycle as unions look to reward lawmakers who rebuff their leadership on key votes, ingratiate themselves to freshman Republicans and ward off primary challengers as many tea party candidates campaign on anti-union platforms.
Overall this cycle, about 13 percent of labor groups’ political action committee contributions — just over $2 million — have gone toward GOP candidates, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s still dwarfed by the nearly $14 million in union cash that’s gone to Democrats this cycle, but the GOP appears to be gaining ground with union donors after receiving only 6 percent of total contributions in 2010 and 8 percent in the 2008 cycle.