Majority of new MPs are union members

Trade union members are once again well represented among the members of the Finnish parliament. A majority of the MPs elected on April 14 most certainly belong to a union.

03.05.2019

Trade union members are once again well represented among the members of the Finnish parliament. A majority of the MPs elected on April 14 most certainly belong to a union.

Out of the 200 seats, which make up the Finnish Parliament, 21 were won by members of the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. According to the JHL union magazine Motiivi, 14 of them represent the Social Democrats and 5 the Left Alliance.

Among them is Li Andersson, the Left Alliance party leader who was elected with a very high number of personal votes. In the previous Parliament sat also 21 JHL members, which means that one out of ten MPs is still a member of JHL Union.

Tehy – the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals says that 10 of their members were elected, which is more than before. Four of them are Social Democrats, the rest represent four other parties. Healthcare was one of the major issues in the political debate leading up to the elections.

The Industrial Union will have 5 of their members as MPs for the next four years. Two of them are Social Democrats, two represent the Left Alliance and one is from the populist right-wing Finns Party.

Two members of the Trade Union Pro will sit in the new Parliament. One is the former Pro President Antti Rinne, who is Social Democratic party leader and a strong candidate to become the next Prime Minister.

Five members of the Service Union United PAM were elected, 2 Social Democrats and 3 from the Left Alliance. No member of the Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union was elected, the union says.

The Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ says that 30 of the new MPs have backgrounds in teaching or research. The Union does not list how many are OAJ members, but the organising level among teachers is generally very high.

The Social Science Professionals are confident that 4 of their members are now MPs, two of whom are active in the union. The Association of Finnish Lawyers count at least 4 new MPs as their union members.

The six medical doctors, two priests and several journalists elected to Parliament are probably members of their own unions, as union density within these sectors tends to be very high.

Not all unions reveal which of the politicians are their members. Usually the unions offer their members the possibility to present themselves in the union media, but not all union members avail of this opportunity. Most of the unionised MPs are rank-and-file members in their unions.

As union members come from the whole political spectrum, there is no “trade union party” in Parliament. However, many of the unionised leftist MPs, in particular, have been active in union work.

The number of union member MPs in the previous three elections has been around 120.

Helsinki 25 April 2019 by Heikki Jokinen