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!