Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hardhats vs. Moonbats on illegal aliens

Charles Hurt of The Washington Times reports:

Labor unions, which are among the Democratic Party's most loyal supporters, are deeply at odds with the party's push for a guest-worker program, and many Capitol Hill aides say erosion of labor's support undermined the Senate immigration-reform bill last week.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says guest-worker programs supported by top Democrats such as Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein are a "bad idea and harm all workers." ...
While labor unions say they want immigration reform, there is division among unions who support guest workers, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and those who fear current Senate proposals will flood the U.S. job market and further undercut American workers with cheap labor.
"This is the corporate strategy in this country now, and Congress seems to be embracing it," Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, told CNN's Lou Dobbs last week.
"The corporate strategy is export good American jobs and then import cheap labor," he said.
Go read the whole thing -- and then come back, because there are some interesting unexplored angles to this story.

As Mr. Hurt reports, there is a sharp division within the labor movement itself, between what you might call the old-line George Meany/Dick Gephardt "hardhat" type of unions and what might be described as the Andy Stern/MoveOn.org "moonbat" faction. It is with a certain filial pride that I note that my dad's old union, the Machinists (Bill McCain was a proud member of IAM Local 709 in Marietta, Ga.) are among the leaders of the anti-moonbat wing, as the New York Times reported after the 2004 election:

Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s largest union, called yesterday in a letter for far-reaching changes in labor designed to increase its membership, proposing a $25-million-a-year campaign to unionize Wal-Mart and a near doubling in the amount spent annually on organizing. ....

Mr. Stern's call for broad restructuring has fueled fierce divisions, even causing one union, the International Association of Machinists, to warn that it might quit the A.F.L.-C.I.O. if Mr. Stern prevails in his push to remake the federation. ...

Richard Sloan, a spokesman for the machinists' union, criticized Mr. Stern's proposals, asserting that they were part of a power play in which Mr. Stern and his allies were seeking to take over the A.F.L.-C.I.O.
"It's not Andy Stern's role in life to say to 60 other international unions that you got to do it my way or the highway," Mr. Sloan said. "That's just dead wrong. There's an arrogance to that. He fails by misunderstanding the nature of the labor movement - this isn't a set of elites that dictates to us. This is a democratic movement."
At their convention in September, the machinists' delegates authorized the union's executive council to withdraw from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. if its political opponents won control of the federation.
See what I'm talking about? It's the IAM-led hard hats vs. the SEIU-led moonbats. After the 2004 election -- as previously noted here -- Machinists boss Tom Buffenbarger ripped Stern & his moonbat followers a new one, blaming them for Democrats' defeat in 2004:
Even before passage of McCain-Feingold, Steve Rosenthal and his beach house buddy Andy Stern were targeting states like New Hampshire, Colorado, Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Maine, and Arizona.
Their lock-step troika of 527’s spent over $260 million in up to 20 states only to lose 16 of their targeted states.
Now along comes Andy Stern Dean-screaming that the sky is falling. And why? Because John Kerry lost Ohio by 119,000 votes!
Hells bells, the IAM knew Ohio was lost the moment the Kerry campaign decided our convention would be an “off the record” event for its vice-presidential candidate. ...
We knew that the Democrats and their 527’s were wasting millions of dollars trying to persuade the undecided voters in the smallest states of the union.
But Andy Stern wants to blame everyone else for that defeat.

Heh. Buffenbarger's "beach house buddy" remark is an allusion to the fact that Stern, an Ivy League-educated radical, has for 25 years shared a New Jersey beach house with his friend Steve Rosenthal. No, not like that. They're both family guys.
Buffenbarger, an up-through-the-ranks Machinist who started out as a shop steward in an Ohio GE plant, wasn't being a homophobe, he was playing the class-warfare card against Stern and Rosenthal, a former AFL-CIO operative who led the biggest moonbat 527, Americans Coming Together.
Buffenbarger was saying that Stern & Co. are a bunch of rich elite radicals, the kind of left-wing snobs who own beach houses and then claim to speak for "working families."
Now, what does this have to do with illegal aliens? Four things:
Sweeney's immediate successor at the SEIU's 70,000-member Local 32B-32J in New York City was a high-living fellow named Gus Bevona:
Bevona ... ruled the union with an iron fist for 18 years, and stepped down after union members sued him for improperly spending $2.4 million in union funds. ...
At one time the nation’s highest-paid union boss, Bevona got nearly half a million
dollars a year from several sources.

In addition to his $412,000 Local 32B-32J salary, he also was paid by the SEIU parent union, a regional council, and another affiliated local. When he “retired” in 1999 with a $1.5 million severance payment, Bevona left behind a $6 million marble office penthouse in Manhattan, paid for by member dues—about $500 a year from each of 55,000 members in the late 1990s. Several Bevona cronies made off with about $5.3 million in severance payments.
And the SEIU corruption hits just keep coming:

May 13, 2004: SEIU employee indicted for theft.
March 28, 2005: N.J. Dem accused in SEIU local bankruptcy.
Aug. 1, 2005: SEIU treasurer pleads guilty in N.J.
March 28, 2006: L.A. SEIU official will plead guilty.
April 10, 2006: Another L.A. SEIU official pleads not guilty.
April 10, 2006: Milwaukee SEIU ex-bosses indicted.

Hmmm. Radical elites. Illegal aliens. Thievish labor bosses. Tens of millions of dollars in workers' dues being spent for 527s to support Democratic campaigns that keep losing and losing. See a pattern here? Have Mr. Buffenbarger and his fellow hardhats in the labor movement demanded an independent audit of the ACT 2004 operation? Just asking ...

-- McCAIN

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