It turns out that the union card may not be the most expensive item in union members' wallets. It could be their credit card, at once both attacked and sold by Big Labor's lucre-seeking bosses.
This week, Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer looked at just how much union bosses pull in from "affinity" credit cards that they've gotten members and supporters to stick in their wallets. Readers may well get sticker shock: the AFL-CIO pulled in $28,163,266.00 last year.
Which would be fine, save the massive hypocrisy from the union federation and the politically powerful Service Employees International Union, which routinely attack credit card companies. As Schweizer puts it, "If banks offer consumers products that ensnare them in deeper debt it's a problem. But when unions do it, suddenly it's a legitimate revenue stream."
It turns out that while blasting credit companies for offering introductory card rates that go higher with missed payments, mortgages from Chase, or encouraging consumers to use credit cards for purchases such as down payments, that's precisely what union bosses do with their own financial products. (For those wondering, the Nerdwallet rating service said it was "appalled" at the popularity of the Union Plus Credit Card and suggested this union label: "Avoid the Union Plus Credit Card.")
A final irony may be that, as Schweizer points out, a former national leader of SEIU blasted banks for being built on "a business model on screwing customers, pushing dangerous products, and burying customers in more and more debt," which does not sound altogether unlike Big Labor's model of trying to force young workers into a system of underfunded pensions and limited access to merit-based career advancement.
The bottom line on this credit canard: While we may owe Schweizer a debt of gratitude, it may be worth pondering just who will be collecting if a borrower runs behind on his bills.
Brett Mcmahon is President of Miller and Long DC and spokesman for the non-profit Halt The Assault campaign