Sunday, February 19, 2006

Union corruption exposed

One of the most jaw-dropping chapters in DONKEY CONS is Chapter 5 ("The Union Label") about the corrupting influence labor unions have had on the Democratic Party.

Democrats are heavily beholden to organized labor. In the 2000 election cycle, for example, labor unions made $90 million in contributions, 94 percent to Democrats. An FEC investigation in 1996 revealed that the AFL-CIO exercised an effective veto over the Democratic National Committee's campaign strategy. As Linda Chavez says, the Democratic Party is "a wholly-owned subsidiary" of Big Labor.

Even union members know the labor movement is profoundly corrupt. This is the case of Robert Fitch, author of Solidarity for Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise. In this new book -- reviewed here in the San Francisco Chronicle -- Fitch says that labor unions promote a semi-feudal "fiefdom syndrome -- a kind of protection system based on exclusive jurisdictions, exclusive bargaining, and job control":
Those who control the jobs become the bosses; those who want the jobs become their clients. Loyalty to the [union] boss becomes the highest virtue. It's an ethic of dependence rather than solidarity, one that promotes the most wide-ranging corruption.

Anyone who cares to investigate the subject of union corruption must reach a similar conclusion: the corruption is systemic, not episodic. In fact, if you research both organized crime and labor unions, as we did, you quickly discover an enormous overlap. For instance, the infamous "Murder Incorporated" gang was led by Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, a brutal killer whose primary criminal enterprise was labor racketeering.

The liberal reviewer for the Chronicle resists the Fitch book's conclusions, but I have no doubt that Fitch -- who has been a union organizer and remains a union member -- knows his stuff.