Incredibly, there are people who are further to the left than former-SEIU boss Andy Stern. One of them happens to be
Vladimir Lenin his ex-girlfriend, Jane Hamsher (former Hollywood producer and current proprietor of the ultra-left blog Firedoglake). Purportedly, Jane dumped Andy when he backed down from the public option in ObamaCare. Some months later, after Andy left the union movement and got a job as a corporate board member at a bio-defense company, Jane continues dabbling in union bosses’ business. This makes Jane sometimes appear more pro-union than her ex—especially when it comes to the South Korea trade deal reached on Friday afternoon.
As President Obama made the trade deal announcement, the administration went into high gear over the weekend to sell the deal to reluctant union bosses. As part of this sales job, the trade deal got a celebrity endorsement from the United Auto Workers’ Bob King who apparently got a back-room deal that has some South Koreans and FDL’s Jame Hamsher fuming mad.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the United Auto Workers won the continuation of 2.5% tariffs on South Korean cars for five years, instead of ending them “immediately or after three years, as previously agreed.” In exchange, the UAW will apparently get 800 jobs out of the deal, while America allegedly loses an estimated 159,000 jobs (according to the union-backed Economic Policy Institute).
On Friday night, an angry Hamsher penned a piece entitled UAW To Support NAFTA-Style Korea Free Trade, Sells Out Taxpayers Who Bailed Them Out, in which she wrote:
FDL has learned that the UAW, which was bailed out by American taxpayers two short years ago, will endorse the trade pact and act as the liberal “postage stamp” for the deal. UAW President Bob King decided to endorse it despite strong opposition from his staff.
According to sources close to the discussions, King was on a plane from Europe all day and when he landed, the first one who got him was Obama. King told UAW staff that he supports the deal because he trusts the President, and is confident that it will be a good deal for auto workers because Ford has endorsed it.
[Ironically, the UAW is also rallying in support of the occupation of one of Hyundai’s plants in Korea by striking temporary workers, which has stopped production on Hyundai’s Verna and Accent.]
On Saturday, United Steelworkers’ Leo Gerard was interviewed by the Huffington Post. During the interview, the USW boss remained non-committal on the trade deal and, when told of the UAW’s endorsement, stated:
“I guess some people feel they’re smart enough to make decisions based on rumors. I want to be more thoughtful,” said Gerard. The union’s board will meet Monday, he said, to discuss the pact.
“I’ll have a direct discussion with Bob and our paths overlap, and sometimes they don’t overlap,” said Gerard, referring to Bob King, head of the auto-workers union.
Gerard’s statement led Hamsher to pen a piece on Sunday entitled Steelworkers Chief Leo Gerard Takes Swipe at UAW’s Bob King Over Obama’s NAFTA-Style Korea Free Trade Deal. In the piece, Hamsher laid out the case that the Obama administration is playing ‘divide and conquer’ with its benefactors at the AFL-CIO:
Both the UAW and the Steelworkers are unions within the AFL-CIO federation. The White House and hoped to keep the AFL-CIO on the sidelines by buying off the UAW and the Steelworkers with a “car fix,” pitting them against the building trades unions like the Bricklayers, the Electrical Workers, the Boilermakers the Painters and the Ironworkers that have been devastated by these NAFTA-style trade agreements.
The White House is also threatening to withhold support from the Steelworkers’ 301 petition, signed by 181 members of Congress, asking for swift action against China’s use of unfair trade practices to dominate the green technology sector. But it’s hard to see how signing on to another “free trade” agreement is a good idea for any labor union when the US government won’t take action against WTO violations that are already being committed.
To make matters worse, Hamsher’s ire isn’t solely aimed at the UAW either. In fact, President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was singled out with a sharp rebuke by Hamsher as well.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has also been on the phone, pressuring labor Presidents into supporting the trade deal. As someone who raised money for her and supported her when she was in congress, she can officially kiss my a** in Macy’s window.
Hamsher claims to be mobilizing opposition to the trade deal, vowing:
But we will fight them. Because this is a terrible, terrible deal for America, at a time when unemployment is soaring and the White House has zero plans for creating jobs — unless you’re in the international bank looting business. Everyone involved should be deeply, deeply ashamed of their participation in this, and we will do everything in our power to organize against its passage.
If Hamsher is to be believed, the Obama administration is playing a dangerous game at angering both its hardcore-lefties like Hamsher, as well as the union members that Obama will need to tap again for money and GOTV in 2012.
This will be interesting to watch with popcorn in hand.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776