Monday, May 15, 2006

Meet the new boss ...

Not quite the same as the old boss: Andy Stern, the guy who split the AFL-CIO, gets the Lewinsky treatment from Leslie Stahl:
When you first see Andy Stern, pay attention to his wardrobe — dressed in purple, it's his way of branding SEIU.
He's as far from a blue-collar tough-guy chomping on a cigar as you can get. At 55, he's smallish, in good shape and Ivy-league educated. ...
Stern has built SEIU into the fastest-growing union in the country, with its cult of purple. But while it has been thriving, much of labor has been shrinking.
It's a JANITORS union, for crying out loud. Will Stern build the future of a "new labor" movement with ... janitors? But don't bother Leslie Stahl with skepticism or logic -- she's too busy earning her SEIU kneepads:
SEIU membership is mostly Spanish-speaking, female, minority and immigrant. What's amazing here in Illinois is that by going door to door, SEIU was able to organize 49,000 other women like Maria who run day care centers.

After 10 years of recruiting and lobbying, Illinois agreed to a union contract, giving the women a 35 percent raise and health care during the next three years.

"I think I'm going to win the Nobel Prize because I think I can finally prove that Ronald Reagan is wrong, George Bush is wrong. Wealth does not trickle down, it trickles up," Stern said at a rally.

One of SEIU's big successes in trickle up economics is janitors. You'd think a janitor like Emmanuel Tanis, who works in an office building in New York, would make minimum wage. But he's in SEIU and, with overtime, Tanis made $53,000 last year.
A. So, the future of labor speaks in 20-year-old liberal talking points like "trickle down" economics? Can somebody find me one occasion when George W. Bush has ever employed the phrase "trickle down"? This phrase was a misinterpretation of supply-side theory when it was used to attack Reagan 25 years ago, and its relevance hasn't improved with age.
B. Who, besides Leslie Stahl, would imagine that anybody in New York City works for minimum wage?
C. Does the concept of "trade-offs" ever occur to these people? How about the jobs NYC loses when industrial companies won't invest there because of the above-market janitorial wages extorted by SEIU?

But never mind any of these questions: Behold how Leslie lovingly services the head of the service employees union. At one point, Stahl mentions that Andy Stern has "critics." And she says that Stern's "old friends in the labor movement" are "offended." Who are there critics? Why are they offended? Why aren't they shown on camera, expressing their own views? Did Tom Buffenbarger not return calls from the "60 Minutes" producers?

Staunch labor loyalists have accused Stern -- who was implicated in the AFL-CIO/Teamsters/DNC campaign cash scandal in 1996 -- of being a liar and a cheat. Here's labor activist Harry Kelber in March 2005:
Although Stern claims 1.8 million members for the Service Employees, his union made per capita payments to the AFL-CIO in 2004 for only 1,354,000 members, according to the latest AFL-CIO Membership Report.
Thus, if the 1.8 million SEIU figure is correct, the union failed to pay per capita for 446,000 members, short-changing the AFL-CIO by $3,264,720. Or it may be that the SEIU does not have 1.8 million dues payers, as it claims. Stern has an obligation to clear up the discrepancy.
So, according to Kelber, Stern either ripped off the AFL-CIO to the tune of $3.3 million or he exaggerated SEIU membership by 400,000. Stern and the SEIU are a leading force in the Moonbat wing of the Democratic Party, are closely tied to the MoveOn.org crowd, and have been major organizers of illegal alien rallies. The SEIU is also notoriously corrupt.

Yet never is heard a discouraging word for Stern by loving Leslie! She portrays Stern as a devotee of frugal living:
He lashed out at the union bosses for riding around in chauffeur-driven cars and flying around with Democratic senators. Stern never rides in a limo.
Divorced now, he lives modestly in an apartment with his teenage son, Matt.
What, did Stern's wife get his beach house in the divorce settlement? Or does he still share the Jersey beach place with his old AFL-CIO pal Steve Rosenthal? And I'm just really sure New Yorkers see Andy Stern traveling around Manhattan every day on the subway.

If this is what now passes for "investigative journalism" at CBS, it just goes to show you how far "60 Minutes" has fallen.

UPDATE 5/16: Should I be worried?

-- McCAIN

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