What is V-CAP?

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From trade policy to health care, education to retirement security, taxes to roads and highways, politics affects our daily lives.

That’s why it’s essential for working families to make our voices heard in local, state and national politics. And one of the most effective ways to do that is by contributing to our union’s voluntary political action committee — UAW V-CAP

Our contributions to UAW V-CAP are used to support the campaigns of pro-working family candidates who have earned the endorsement of the UAW Community Action Program (UAW CAP).

Why Should I Support Labor-Endorsed Candidates?

1. For what political offices does the local endorse candidates?

Locals generally work through the UAW Community Action Program structure to endorse candidates for any elected office. They work in city, county, area or stte CAP councils and are involved in the endorsement of statewide or local officials, U.S. representatives and U.S. senators.

2. How does the union decide which candidate will be endorsed?

In order to evaluate a candidate, unions generally conduct a screening process of each candidate. For incumbents, unions consider his or her voting record on labor and related issues. For non-incumbents, unions consider the candidate’s position statement and support for labor and related issues, such as social legislation, education, etc.

3. Why support labor-endorsed candidates as opposed to other candidates?

Sometimes workers make their selections based solely upon a candidate’s position on single “hot button” non-labor issues. That candidate, however, will vote on many more issues than just that one. Be careful!

Protecting our collective bargaining gains through political action should be a priority of every UAW member.

Supporting V-CAP should be a priority for all UAW leadership.

There are 328 Labor PACs and 4,439 Non-Labor PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission. The number of PACs has not changed significantly over the years, but contributions have more than doubled.

“V” Means “Voluntary”

Always remember that both checkoff authorization and the amount to be deducted are purely voluntary. No UAW member can or should be compelled to contribute to the UAW V-CAP fund. A member can cancel his or her authorization by written request at any time. The keys to increasing participation in V-CAP and our other political action efforts are political education and communication, not high pressure tactics.

Community Action Program

UAW National CAP Department
800 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 926-5531
(313) 824-5750

NOTE: UAW V-CAP is an independent political committee created by the UAW. This committee does not ask for or accept authorization from any candidate, and no candidate is responsible for its activities. UAW V-CAP uses the money it receives to make political contributions and expenditures in connection with federal, state and local elections. Contributions to UAW V-CAP are purely voluntary, and are without fear of reprisal. All UAW members may be eligible for V-CAP raffle drawings, regardless of whether they make a contribution to UAW V-CAP. Monies contributed to UAW V-CAP constitute a voluntary contribution to a joint fund-raising effort by the UAW and AFL-CIO.

Transcribed from UAW publication C2015 to facilitate digital storage and transmission.

Questions About V-CAP

Q. Why do we need UAW V-CAP? I thought the UAW used dues money for campaign contributions.

A. That’s a common mistake. The fact is that federal and many state election laws prohibit unions from contributing members’ dues money to political candidates. The only money that can be used for contributions to candidates is money that members voluntarily contribute to our political action fund, UAW V-CAP.

Q. How does UAW CAP decide which candidates to support?

A. Typically, candidates are interviewed by a screening committee of CAP activists. The screening committee makes its recommendations based on its evaluation of the candidates’ voting records and/or positions on trade, education, Medicare, pension security, striker replacement, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and other issues that directly affect UAW members and our families.

Q. That sounds good, but doesn’t UAW CAP endorse only Democrats?

A. No. Endorsements are based on the candidates record and positions on issues, not only on party. Over the years, UAW CAP has endorsed pro-working family independents and Republicans, as well as Democrats. The bottom line is that “UAW CAP supports candidates that support us.”

Q. The fat cats can write $2,000+ checks to their candidates while I can only afford a few dollars a month for V-CAP so why should I bother?

A. That’s exactly why you should contribute to UAW V-CAP. Not many of us are in a position to write big checks to the candidates we support, but when we join our contributions of a few dollars a month together in UAW V-CAP, we can make a big difference in elections. In fact, UAW V-CAP is recognized by elected officials and candidates as one of the larges and most effective PACs in American politics.

Q. How much can UAW V-CAP give to a candidate?

A. The maximum amount any PAC can contribute to a candidate for federal office is $5,000 for the general election. Amounts to state candidates vary according to state laws.

Q. How much should I contribute to UAW V-CAP?

A. That’s entirely up to you. Most contributors to UAW V-CAP give from $1 to $5 each month. Of course you can choose to contribute more or less, depending on your circumstances.

Q. How do I contribute to UAW V-CAP?

A. The UAW has negotiated a checkoff provision with General Motors, Ford, Daimler/Chrysler and a number of other employers. To participate in checkoff, simply complete and sign a V-CAP checkoff card. The card authorizes your employer to deduct the amount of money that you specify from your pay-check, and your contribution is automatically sent to UAW V-CAP. Checkoff cards for UAW V-CAP are available from your local union CAP representative.

Why Should I Care?

1. The union must have unified labor support to elect candidates who will work to secure effective labor legislation and other beneficial social programs for our members and their families.
2. The union should always endorse particular candidates for public office because of their stands on labor issues. Based on the results of intensive examinations of the candidates, a labor endorsement identifies the individual who will best serve the working person’s interests.
3. The power of appointed officials concerning your livelihood is much greater than most realize. All federal judges, Supreme Court justices, NLRB members and Cabinet members are appointed by the president. Without consulting Congress, and without being held accountable to YOU, the voter, all of these appointees can change laws concerning your job and your life just by the stroke of a pen.
4. Senators and representatives can pass laws and confirm may appointments of people who can directly affect your job and everyday life.
5. Local and state elected officials can appoint commissions on zoning, planning and building, all of which directly affect the amount of construction work available, as well as other aspects of your neighborhood and community.
6. School boards have a direct impact on our children’s lives on a daily basis.
7. The governor appoints many commissioners who have the power to affect all our lives. They can make important decisions on issues such as “utility deregulation.”