From today’s Financial Times, “Union boss loses patience with US reform delays“:
Andy Stern, the powerful head of the Services Employees International Union, will push US senators for a vote on far-reaching reform of labour laws in “spring”, even if Democrats plead for delay and even if he has to accept a compromise.
Mr Stern, who White House records reveal was the most frequent visitor to Barack Obama in the first months of his presidency, expressed frustration at the time taken on Capitol Hill to pursue the administration’s agenda, which includes a divisive Employee Free Choice Act. [EFCA]
Stern is among a group of top union leaders who meet with President Obama in the White House today to talk about health care and the Senate bill’s excise tax on high-value insurance plans. Amanda Carpenter of The Washington Times tweets a good question: “Unions going to WH today–any possibility of a deal on EFCA in exchange for acceptance of caddy tax?”
Probably not. President Obama has not put serious political muscle behind passing card check, as far as we can tell. Given the current political/electoral dynamics in the Senate — the key EFCA battleground — it’s hard to see him really pushing this horribly unpopular measure. If jobs are the byword of 2010, turning control of more jobs-creating businesses over to labor unions is a definite campaign loser.
Oh, and did you know that Stern is not a registered lobbyist? And isn’t his refusal to register actually an admission of the lack of his influence, despite his many, many visits to the White House?
Addendum: In other SEIU news, the union is a major player in a “week of action” to promote expanded immigration, part of the Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) coalition. Odd to see a group representing union workers advocating for an increase in labor supply, pushing down wages for their members…unless the goal of political power takes precedent over representing their members.
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