I have a piece in the latest issue of NRODT on the symbiotic relationship between the SEIU and the Obama administration. Laws that help unions add members — such as the stimulus and the health-care bill and the card-check legislation — ultimately serve a broader liberal agenda, because unions have moved left on nearly every issue:
The past three decades have seen unions embrace left-wing positions on everything from affirmative action to gay marriage to the war in Iraq. (Times have changed: Former AFL-CIO president George Meany refused to support George McGovern because McGovern opposed the war in Vietnam.) The bigger unions grow, the more power they have, as Andrew Stern will tell anyone who will listen.
Andy Stern, the SEIU president, has made growing the size of the union his top priority, and his tactics have split the labor movement:
Stern’s obsession with size has embroiled the labor movement in some of the nastiest fights it has ever seen. Old-school union guys like Sal Rosselli, a former Stern lieutenant whose National Union of Healthcare Workers split from SEIU earlier this year in a bitter divorce, told [The New Republic's] Bradford Plumer that “Stern’s drive for growth at all costs” had caused him to ignore what was in the best interest of his members. But Andrew Stern was a liberal before he was a union organizer, just as Obama was a liberal before he was a community organizer. Unions may have existed to serve workers’ interests at one time. These days, they exist to serve liberalism.
I mention all this, not just to encourage you to subscribe to NR and read the piece, but also because the infighting is getting nastier all the time:
A state worker is recovering after a bloody brawl at a union hall. He says members of the local SEIU 1000 beat him up and sent him to the hospital all because he wanted to expose alleged corruption within the union.
Ken Hamidi is a state worker at the California Franchise Tax Board. Last night he walked into a union hall in Sacramento for an SEIU local 1000 meeting.
“We had every right to be here, very simple; it wasn’t anything private or anything exclusive,” said Hamidi.
But Hamidi says the union members did not want him there.
“Three, four people jumped at me, wrestled with me, then did all that,” said Hamidi. “I was covered in blood and then over to the emergency room.”
Keep in mind: The card-check bill would end secret-ballot union elections and force employers to allow union organizers onto their property. Good thing these guys don’t have a reputation for thuggishness.