Super Donor Profiles

Published — October 23, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Donor profile: United Auto Workers

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012


Ranking: 7

Total contributions to super PACs: $11.8 million*

  • $11.4 million to UAW Education Fund (pro-Democratic)
  • $200,000 to Priorities USA Action (pro-Barack Obama)
  • $108,000 to Working for Us PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $100,000 to Majority PAC (pro-Democratic)
  • $15,000 to American Votes Action Fund (pro-Democratic)

Federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • Has donated more than $1.4 million to federal candidates through its political action committee so far this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. All but $4,000 has gone to Democrats.

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $11.4 million

Lobbying issues: Medicare and Medicaid, banking, appropriations, automotive industry, defense, defense, retirement savings, taxes, trade, unemployment and numerous other legislative issues.


The United Auto Workers has become a major backer of President Barack Obama and the $81.3 billion federal bailout, which was credited with saving Chrysler and General Motors.

The bailout was a key 2012 campaign issue for Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, especially in the Midwest, where hundreds of thousands of auto workers live.

UAW is the sole funder of the UAW Education Fund, pouring more than $11.4 million into the super PAC during the election. In turn, UAW Education Fund has made major contributions to other Democratic-aligned super PACs, including Priorities USA Action ($1 million), Majority PAC ($700,000) House Majority PAC ($250,000) and Working for Us PAC ($125,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Earlier this year, the Center for Public Integrity reported that the UAW put $1 million toward a Michigan ballot measure amending the state’s constitution to guarantee collective bargaining rights for all Michigan workers.

The Detroit-based United Auto Workers union represents more than just assembly line workers. Its members work in health care, gambling and other jobs. Founded in 1935, UAW says it has more than 390,000 active members and more than 600,000 retired members, with more than 750 local chapters. The union has a strong presence in Michigan and the Midwest and has offices in Canada and Puerto Rico.

UAW has been politically active since its inception, pushing for legislation that benefits its members and their families. The UAW worked to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Family Medical and Leave Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.

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