Peter Ferrara

Kevin Anderson is a junior at Southern Lehigh High School near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is also a longstanding member of Boy Scout Troop 301 in the Lehigh Valley.

Kevin needed to do an Eagle Scout project to complete the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank. He decided to clear a 1,000 foot hiking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park in east Allentown, completing a missing link in the 165-mile Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Trail. The completed trail would allow visitors to walk along the Lehigh River.

Kevin and his Boy Scout volunteer helpers logged in 250 hours completing the trail project, clearing brush and plants, and removing trash and old tires. The Mayor of Allentown, Ed Pawlowski, told Fox News that Anderson’s work was a “great service to the community.”

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But not everyone is happy about the service project. Nick Balzano, President of the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) threatened the Allentown City Council with legal action for allowing the Boy Scouts to clear the trail. Balzano complained that the city had recently laid off 39 SEUI workers. As a result, Balzano told the City Council that the union would be “looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” adding, “There’s to be no volunteers.”

Balzano complained that the city should have paid some of his 39 laid off workers to do the work in place of the Boy Scout volunteers. He told the Allentown Morning Call that no one except SEIU union members may be allowed to pick up a shovel, plant a flower, or clear a walking path for the city.

The SEIU, of course, is a major cog in the Obama political machine. SEIU President Andy Stern is a frequent White House visitor, ardently pushing the government takeover of health care, which he expects to lead to more unionized health care workers paying dues to his labor empire. The SEIU has also long had ties with ACORN, another major component of the Obama machine.

The union has since apologized for Balzano’s indiscretion. A call to New York City SEIU spokesman Matt Nerzig revealed that Balzano has suddenly decided to resign from the union, and could not be reached. Nerzig insists that the resignation was entirely voluntary and he does not know the reasons Balzano chose to quit. But seven other executives of the SEIU local have now quit as well.


Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is General Counsel for the American Civil Rights Union, a Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.