The L.A. Times had a very interesting piece last week on the unusually close relationship between Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern and President Obama. The story revealed how Stern “enjoys unusual access to the White House,” and how often Stern is invited to attend meetings the administration holds on policy even as other union heads are left out of the loop.
The piece does cast some doubt on just how much clout Stern might have with Obama as several of the initiatives he has pushed hard for have yet to come to fruition — but it should also be remembered that this administration is only 6 months old. There is plenty of time, here.
Though it does not develop the theme, here is where the Times piece shows the danger that Andy Stern’s close connection with Obama presents to the country and its various governments, federal and state both.
The SEIU’s access to the White House also has left California officials unsettled. Earlier this year, the Obama administration invited the SEIU to take part in a conference call centering on a dispute over pay cuts to home healthcare workers represented by the union. State officials said the union’s involvement in a government-to-government conference seemed inappropriate.
Inappropriate? You bet. But Obama indulged his buddy Stern anyway.
So, where is the danger? Andy Stern’s SEIU is the biggest union in the country that represents government workers of all sorts. If Stern can translate his close relationship to the administration into cajoling and strongarming more and more government workers into his union, Stern will (and already has to a great extent) become an unelected, fourth branch of government in every state of the union as well as Congress.
Before any government budget is decided, before any responsible cut in spending is considered, government officials all across the land have to go to Andy Stern, hat in hand, to ask him if they are allowed to cut costs. This is a check on government power that the voters have absolutely no say whatever in affecting. This is a power that is illegitimately in the hands of a self-interested union thug that could not care less what “good government” means nor what is best for the tax payers. In fact, his interest is to screw the tax payers as much as possible, yet he is being handed almost total veto power on state and federal budgetary concerns. The closer to Obama he gets, the more his clout grows and the more powerful he becomes, legitimate or not.
This man is a danger to the whole country.