Follow the money. Labor bosses with a friend int he White House are revealing their true nature.
Harold Meyerson, one of the leading leftist intellectuals, writes an unintentionally revealing column in the Los Angeles Times today, bemoaning strife among California labor unions, just as they are poised to achieve political dominance. He is completely sympathetic to the goals of a Democrat supermajority in the California legislature, abolition of the right to a secret ballot in unionization votes, and other leftist goals. The problem is that his dream is running smack into human nature, as leftist utopian aspirations always do:
The troubles began within Unite Here -- a union that has only been around since 2004, when Unite (the apparel workers union) merged with Here (the hotel workers union). The two groups were among labor's stars....
This last winter, as it became clear that the leaders of the former Here would soon have the votes to oust the leaders of the former Unite from their leadership posts in the merged union, the Unite side voted to unmerge and affiliate itself instead with the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU -- the nation's most dynamic and powerful union.
The de-merger, though, only intensified the conflict. Each union maintained that it had rights to assets the other had brought to the merger: The hotel workers, who now control Unite Here, laid claim to financial assets that had been Unite's before the merger (including Amalgamated Bank, the nation's last labor bank). The apparel workers insisted they still had the right to organize hotels because their own industry, domestic clothing and textile manufacturing, had largely collapsed.
Each side put pressure on the other, but the SEIU-Unite side really brought out the big guns. Throughout March and April, it phoned and mailed members of the hotel locals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and elsewhere, urging them to turn against their leaders and come over to the other side. This, in turn, raised the hackles of the leaders of other unions, who were clearly perturbed by the spectacle of one union destabilizing another.
It is all about the personal ambitions and greed of the union leaders, especially the SEIU, led by Andrew Stern, whose influence with President Obama is enormous. It's all about the benjamins. "Organizing" workers means forcing them to pay a monthly tribute -- a cut of their paychecks to the union, money that supports union leaders' salaries, perks, trips to conferences in Bal Harbor, and of course political donations used to buy politicians and elect Democrats.
This is the reality of unions today. Even a sympathizer cannot ignore it, even if he does not recognize it.
At the New York Post today, Michelle Malkin
, an unsympathetic observer of the unions, covers the SEIU at the national level, and reveals further confirmation of the moral basis of this crowd:
Former SEIU chief lobbyist Patrick Gaspard served as the Obama campaign's national political director and transition deputy director of personnel. During the 2004 election cycle, he led the George Soros-funded group America Coming Together (ACT) as national field director. During Gaspard's tenure at ACT, the get-out-the-vote group employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission. Gaspard was appointed White House political director shortly after Election Day 2008.
Within two weeks of assuming office, Obama signed a series of executive orders championed by union bosses.
The payoffs keep coming for the SEIU. Last week Obama slashed the Labor Department's funding to investigate union corruption -- a welcome move for Stern, who has seen three of his handpicked deputies resign in 2008-09 over financial scandals involving cronyism, nepotism and embezzlement.
California officials also reported last week that the Obama White House gave the SEIU an unprecedented role in negotiations over federal stimulus funds. According to the Los Angeles Times, the union lobbied the feds to withhold nearly $7 billion in stimulus money from California unless it revoked a wage cut for unionized health care workers -- which had already been approved by Democratic lawmakers as part of a budget deal.
SEIU's enforcers have set aside $10 million to unelect any of its political beneficiaries who abandon their pledges to do the union's legislative bidding. Meanwhile, after spending a fortune to put Obama in office, the union laid off a third of its DC field staff (in violation of its own employment protections, workers say) due to . . . budget troubles.
The laid-off workers are collateral damage in Big Labor's pursuit of power. The only jobs guaranteed by SEIU's merger with Hope and Change, Inc. belong to the brass.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky