Unions spent millions backing Hassan because she opposes a right-to-work bill that would ban labor-management contracts requiring affected workers to be union members or pay fees.
From California to Maine, unions used their political muscle to help install Democratic governors, build labor-friendly majorities in legislatures and defeat ballot initiatives against them.
The combination of union money and member mobilization helped Democrats take control of state legislatures in Maine and Minnesota. In Michigan, voters repealed a law that allowed cities in financial distress to suspend collective bargaining contracts.
Unions' most important victory was defeating a California ballot measure that would have prohibited them from collecting money from payroll deductions for political purposes.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)