SEIU’s history of perverting government

Steven Malanga has been on top of the “public union” story longer than anyone, and if there is a good piece of reporting exposing their greed, he’s probably the one who wrote it.

As you contemplate the looming bankruptcy of states like Illinois and California, all you really need to know is that your local Democrat and Republican lawmakers across the country are either wholly owned by the SEIU, or, like too many Republicans, simply too cowardly to take them on.

The Andy Stern Show

When Andy Stern announced his retirement earlier this month, virtually every news account noted that under his leadership the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) had become the fastest growing labor group in America. Whatever else Mr. Stern is remembered for—including his role as a key political ally of Barack Obama and an aggressive campaigner for the recently passed federal health legislation—his principal legacy will be having headed up a union that managed to add 1.2 million members during a time when overall unionization rates continued to plunge in the U.S.

But it’s important to understand how Mr. Stern pulled this off, because his union’s story is really the story of the transformation of the labor movement in America. The SEIU did not win its most significant victories on the picket lines, but rather in backroom political deals with legislative leaders, especially in states like California where the political class is already union-friendly.

Those deals helped the SEIU to organize workplaces that are nominally considered part of the private sector but actually are heavily controlled and influenced by government regulation, most especially in health care. By contrast, the SEIU’s success in areas where its political pressure isn’t decisive has been minimal at best.

The SEIU’s mediocre organizing record outside of industries in which its political muscle matters helps explain why Mr. Stern was such a big supporter of President Obama’s federal health legislation. The bill that passed provides for hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes to expand health-care services largely under government control, for instance, by vastly expanding Medicaid rolls. That perfectly describes the ideal Andy Stern environment for successful union organizing in today’s politicized economy.