WSJ - Unions Were Tuesdays Biggest Loser

Published Thu, Nov 5 2009 9:41 AM

We've been following the union agenda for a while, its ties to the Obama Administration, its employees who have received appointments. Today Michael Barone has a great piece in the Wall Street Journal explaining that the union agenda was Tuesday's biggest loser. Maybe Patrick Gaspard won't have a home with SEIU once Obama sends him on his way after all.

If you were watching television on Tuesday night as the election returns came in showing Republicans capturing the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, you probably missed seeing the biggest losers of the evening. You may have caught the concession speech of Creigh Deeds, who ran 12% behind Barack Obama's winning percentage of the vote in Virginia, and that of Jon Corzine who, after spending over $100 million of his own money on three campaigns, ran 13% behind Obama's winning percentage in New Jersey and got evicted from Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion in Princeton.

But you missed seeing the guy who may have been the biggest loser of all—a man who according to recently released White House logs has been a guest in the White House 22 times since Barack Obama became president, more than any other single individual.

That man is Andy Stern, who has boasted that the Service Employees International Union, which he heads, ponied up something like $60 million for Barack Obama and other Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle. Altogether, Mr. Stern and other labor union leaders reportedly gave Democrats some $400 million last year.

This was, to borrow a word from Mr. Obama, an audacious gamble. Unions these days represent only 8% of private-sector employees (and that's counting General Motors and Chrysler as private sector) and some unions went into debt to make these contributions. Public employee unions of course are financed by taxpayers, who pay the salaries from which dues are extracted, but even so their resources are ultimately limited.

What have the unions gotten in return? Some not insignificant things. The Obama administration bludgeoned General Motors and Chrysler bondholders, in what I called an episode of "gangster government," and effectively turned over the two auto companies to the United Auto Workers. The building trades got project labor agreements—i.e., plenty of dues money flowing to their coffers—in the $787 billion stimulus package.

A lot of that stimulus money went as well to state and local governments. The goal was to spare public employee union members from the vicissitudes of the recession to which the rest of us are subject—and to keep that dues money flowing in.

But the union leaders have been frustrated on their No. 1 goal, the card check bill that would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections. A couple of bulky guys in varsity jackets visit your home and, um, persuade you to sign a card, and later the union—with the help of a mandatory arbitration clause—impose contracts on employees and rake in the dues money.

See the full article here.

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