New Obama lieutenant a “union buster”?

posted at 10:37 am on January 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, maybe we’ve been too hard on Barack Obama’s revolving door at the White House.  It seems to have produced a strain of anti-union sentiment only imagined by paranoid labor organizers during the Bush administration.  Can you imagine the outcry that would have been heard from every corner of the nation had George W. Bush appointed an honest-to-goodness union buster as his chief of staff?

News broke last week that Obama had deployed the Coast Guard to protect grain ships from longshoremen union members and occupiers in Washington State, but now a more politically perilous anti-union revelation is surfacing: his new chief of staff has led at least one effort to bust a labor union. And Lew succeeded in destroying it. …

Between Lew’s service in the Clinton and Obama administrations, he was executive vice president for operations at New York University, where he was also a professor.

In 2004 Lew informed NYU’s full-time faculty that they were expected to continue working even though adjunct faculty members were planning a strike. The next year, while NYU’s graduate student union was planning a strike, Lew informed the campus he would have nothing of it.

NYU had previously officially recognized the graduate student labor union — a local chapter of the United Auto Workers. But, as Americans for Limited Government Communications Director Rick Manning points out in a column for The Hill, NYU decided to stop recognizing the union after the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision saying it no longer had to.

Er, okay, a grad-student union isn’t exactly the same thing as PATCO, I grant you.  Still, the standoff generated considerable controversy.  Even Jesse Jackson arrived on campus to dictate terms to Lew, who wasn’t in the bargaining mood.  In the end, Lew offered an ultimatum that would have allowed the grad students the ability to negotiate for stipends and benefits only, which the union refused — and NYU broke the union, under Lew’s stewardship.

This seems rather interesting, especially in light of Obama’s own accusation during the effort to curtail Wisconsin’s PEU bargaining privileges that Scott Walker had conducted “an assault on unions.”  Walker didn’t try to bust even one union, but only to limit collective bargaining for PEUs to salaries.  Now Obama has appointed a genuine union buster and sent the Coast Guard to fight more.  Nor is that the only hit against Labor over the last couple of weeks.  Remember that switch being contemplated for Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, to the stadium named for a bailout recipient that got demonized by Democrats for passing along costs for Democratic legislation to its customers?  Well, guess how that stadium got built in the first place:

Bank of America Stadium, the Charlotte, N.C. sports area that has been proposed as the site where President Obama will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for a second term in the White House, was built entirely with nonunion labor, The Daily Caller has learned.

Brett McMahon, president of Miller & Long DC, Inc., told TheDC it’s ironic that the Democratic National Committee is discussing the venue as a likely locale for Obama’s re-nomination ceremony, since the president has long-standing political alliances with America’s biggest and wealthiest labor unions.

Brett’s actually a friend of mine.  I’ve had him on the show a couple of times to talk about construction-related economic policy, so I’m happy for him that this is working out so well:

“The majority of the companies that built the stadium were members of Associated Builders & Contractors,” McMahon told TheDC. “It is a great example of a grand monument that was built entirely union-free.” …

But despite the apparent disconnect between the president’s loyalties and his party’s practical needs, McMahon is pleased that his firm’s masterpiece is poised to have such a high profile during the August convention.

“It is a big deal to me because I spent two years working on the building,” he said.

To paraphrase the great Glenn Reynolds, they told me that if I voted for John McCain that union-busting and right-to-work policies would become ascendant.  And they were right!


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How else is Larry Trumka going to make $350K a year?

Washington Fancy on January 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM

union-busting and right-to-work policies

I believe we will be gravely disappointed.

One thing we should know about Leftists… when it’s their own entity or their own money, they run things like they’re conservatives… when it’s other people’s money or if there are political gains (power) to be had at another’s expense… it’s Marxist show time.

mankai on January 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM

He’ll fall into line soon enough!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Blind squirrel finds acorn.

Akzed on January 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Just one more of a string of election-year conversions for Obama, designed to pretend he is moving to the center and away from his hard-left roots.

Now he announcing a piddly attempt to consolidate a few trade agencies to show he is really, really interested in reduicng the bureaucracy.

I guess they really do think we are stupid. I hope they are wrong.

rockmom on January 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Yup, more radical socialism from Obama. Except its like covert or something.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

believe we will be gravely disappointed.

One thing we should know about Leftists… when it’s their own entity or their own money, they run things like they’re conservatives… when it’s other people’s money or if there are political gains (power) to be had at another’s expense… it’s Marxist show time.

mankai on January 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM

+1000

The thought of a union being busted at NYU almost made my head explode. That school is ground zero for leftist thought, it’s even offering a class on Occupy Wall Street this year.

rockmom on January 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

mankai on January 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Exactly. Liberals are generous with the money of others PRECISELY because they’re so ingenerous, incharitable, and obsessed with what’s theirs.

abobo on January 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM

The NYT is all about some union-busting when its NYT’s money on the line… for the rest of us… not so much.

Don’t pay attention to what leftists do when they are making decisions for their own lives… Stalin, Mao and Castro lived extravagant, bourgeois lives while preaching communism for the masses. This guy will inflict on America a Marxist view regardless of what he did in his own dealings.

mankai on January 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Both Obama and Romney leaning right. Must be an election coming up.

Obama can’t be trusted. Can Mitt?

davidk on January 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Liberals are generous with the money of others PRECISELY because they’re so ingenerous, incharitable, and obsessed with what’s theirs.

abobo on January 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Can we assume that the vast majority of African Americans are liberals?

http://www.bet.com/news/national/2012/01/12/black-charitable-giving-surpasses-that-of-whites.html

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

and the Academia shall inherit the world ……. God help us.

FlaMurph on January 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I was expecting to see the AP story of EPA rejecting objections to shells gas exploration in Alaska but alas…it doesn’t fit the narrative.

residentblue on January 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I was expecting to see the AP story of EPA rejecting objections to shells gas exploration in Alaska but alas…it doesn’t fit the narrative.

residentblue on January 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Supporting domestic oil production is socialist if Obama does it.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Can’t be too excited about this. Unions will still vote for Obama regardless. Bye the bye, didn’t I see somewhere where NYU said the OWS course was a hoax or dropped?

Bob in VA on January 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Stage lighting and grease paint.
He’ll find it useful in about 6-7 months. I’m sure we can expect much more in the near future. He’ll suddenly come to love the pipeline, drilling contracts, cutting government “duplication”, and Jesus.
Will a majority of people fall for it? The Magic 8 Ball says “All signs point to ‘YES’”.

Mimzey on January 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Can’t be too excited about this. Unions will still vote for Obama regardless. Bye the bye, didn’t I see somewhere where NYU said the OWS course was a hoax or dropped?

Bob in VA on January 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

It was at Columbia. Allegedly, BO was a student there!

herm2416 on January 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM

What a strange post. You’d think Ed would be happy that BO hired someone who’s not so far to the left.

red_herring on January 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Obummer presser. What? He wants to embrace private-sector concepts of streamlining and avoiding redundancy? He’s going to merge Executive branch agencies? Har! Let’s see how many jobs are “eliminated” in the process. That’s what happens when businesses do this. I am skeptical, of course.

Uh-oh: The phrase “real change”. The change you’ve implemented has only been for the bad, Barry.

Philly on January 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Remember, as with when The New York Times corporate leaders cracked down on the Boston Globe’s unions, threatening a shutdown of the paper if they didn’t give in, in the minds of liberal elitists, it’s OK to union bust when your own personal situation is threatened. It’s not OK when others do it, and they either obtusely fail or maliciously refuse to see that other people and companies may have the same financial problems with continuing their current labor agreements.

jon1979 on January 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM

What a strange post. You’d think Ed would be happy that BO hired someone who’s not so far to the left.

red_herring on January 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Because its not about ideology (I’m not even sure if half of them even know what their ideology is) it is about partisanship and the games of politics.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Look! Barry has a PowerPoint. Now he’s helping small businesses. SBA is now a cabinet-level agency. Barry knows he’s in big trouble come November.

BusinessUSA web site. Will that be like Recovery.org. He assumes Congress will not help him streamline. That’s leadership, Barry. Congrats.

Philly on January 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM

You know, some of those small businesses exist because Venture Capitalists invested in them. Someone tell Newt and Perry.

Philly on January 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM

With President Barack Hussein Obama, just as it was with presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama, illusion is everything.

FlatFoot on January 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

President Obama Thursday quietly notified Congress that the government needs another $1.2 trillion to continue operating so he can be irresponsible and unpatriotic.

J_Crater on January 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The one group Emperor Hussein has NOT nor ever WILL cross are the union thugs.

Indeed, to the point of making recess appointments when the Senate is NOT IN RECESS to make sure the pro-union thug stacked NLRB remains stacked and able to rule for union thugs over business.

wildcat72 on January 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

NYU had previously officially recognized the graduate student labor union — a local chapter of the United Auto Workers.

First off, I’m not even sure what a “graduate student labor union” does. They’re students, aren’t they? What could they go out on strike about? The tests were too difficult?

And it’s a local chapter of the UAW? What, are they making cars at NYU now?

Mitoch55 on January 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM

By this logic, Nancy Pelosi and her husband are the most anti-union folks around. Anything they touch, be it property management, vineyards, restaurants, etc. with their own money they refuse to allow unionization.
But when its the “peoples’ money”, well, we know how they feel then.
Lew was I’m sure partly compensated at NYU based on cost savings or budgetary restraints. That’s the only reason he held the line.

smfic on January 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Hmmm. Must be that “council of enemies” that Oboobi was talking about back when he was like Abe Lincoln.

AH_C on January 13, 2012 at 1:08 PM

union-busting and right-to-work policies
I believe we will be gravely disappointed.

One thing we should know about Leftists… when it’s their own entity or their own money, they run things like they’re conservatives… when it’s other people’s money or if there are political gains (power) to be had at another’s expense… it’s Marxist show time.

mankai on January 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Beat me to it, I couldn’t have said it better myself

This would be like expecting Al Gore to live modestly in a small house and not take private jets– fat chance.

thurman on January 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

rockmom on January 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The grad student union thing happened right before I graduated; they came to the Economics department once; it was a short and fairly brutal discussion. We had a number of questions they couldn’t answer well, and the reach and scope of what they initially wanted to do was breathtaking — including potentially having shop stewards sit in on meetings between GSes and their faculty dissertation advisers. Can you imagine?

FACULTY MEMBER: This section is a little short, you need to run a couple of additional regressions here.

GRAD STUDENT: Yeah, I s–

UAW GOON: Hang on, don’t say anything. The contract clearly states that there is a limit of 42 total right-hand-side variables covering all chapters in a dissertation.

FACULTY MEMBER: Well, the sociology department may have agreed to that, but…

DrSteve on January 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM

The problem is that the Senate does most of its work by unanimous consent—meaning without objection from present Members and without a vote or quorum. Even a single Senator alone on the floor (or “as a practical matter” one from each party) can use this process to modify the standing order in a heartbeat and conduct business.

The Senate did exactly that to pass Mr. Obama’s payroll tax holiday in December, changing a standing order by unanimous consent to conduct business during an ostensibly pro forma session. Mr. Obama signed that bill. Either that was a real session and therefore his recess appointments are unconstitutional or the bill was invalidly enacted and therefore unconstitutional. Both can’t be true.

J_Crater on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Blind squirrel finds acorn.

Akzed on January 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Your comparison gives them to much credit unless the squirrel also suffers from anosmia and tripped over the acorn.

shick on January 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM

We will at least be able to hold Romney’s feet to the fire.

Costa on January 14, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Mm mm, irony tastes good on Saltines.

RebeccaH on January 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM