"We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama -- $60.7 million to be exact -- and we're proud of it," boasted Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, to the Las Vegas Sun this week. The behemoth labor organization's leadership is getting its money's worth. Whether rank-and-file workers and ordinary taxpayers are profiting from this ultimate campaign pay-for-play scheme is another matter entirely.
The two-million-member union, which represents both government and private service employees, proudly claimed that its workers "knocked on 1.87 million doors, made 4.4 million phone calls … and sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail in support of Obama." It dispatched SEIU leaders to seven states in the final weekend before the election to get out the vote for Obama and other Democrats.
Through a series of local chapter takeovers and bully campaigns to destroy the reputation of executives who refuse to submit to their will, Stern and his scandal-plagued lieutenants have consolidated low-skill service workers to create a 21st century labor empire. The ubiquitous Stern now enjoys a prominent seat at the table of every major policy discussion at the White House, including economic recovery and health care radicalization.
Obama champions the SEIU's top legislative priorities: expansive government health care (paid for with regressive sin taxes) and the "Employee Free Choice Act" to do away with private-ballot union elections in the workplace. He has SEIU-blessed bureaucrats installed in every corner of his administration to carry out the agenda.
The SEIU scored not one but two Cabinet appointees: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. The SEIU pitched in with maximum donations to Solis' first congressional campaign and lent her nearly 300 canvassers and ground troops. "I wouldn't be here, were it not for my friends in the labor movement," she gushed. Indeed, over four terms in Congress, Solis has pocketed more than $900,000 in union campaign contributions.