The Godfather, Part IV
The Godfather, Part IV
By Carter Clews
“I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me … And this Hollywood big shot is going to give you everything you want.”—Don Vito Corelone.
I have to admit that, political junkie though I am, I was unfamiliar with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) boss Andy Stern until just about a week ago. But then, I was also unfamiliar with Don Corelone until Mario Puzo brought him to our attention with Godfather Part I. So, a lot of these brutal gangsters operate under my radar until they present themselves front and center in all of their ghoulish splendor.
Not so with Barack Obama, however. Oh, I don't know when he first encountered Don Corelone (or even if he eagerly embraced him as he has most thugs, for that matter). But, I do know that Barack loves Andy Stern with all of his heart, and that Barack will do whatever his new bud Andy wants—as long as Andy remembers to sign the checks.
How can I be so sure? Well, just ask California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 120 members of the California state legislature, the 150,000 members of the Golden State's United Healthcare Workers Union (UHW), or the 35 million citizens of that unfortunate state.
Here's the story—for those who might think that issuing offers one can't refuse died when Don Vito bit into the orange peel. No, it's still around today. Only now, it takes the shape of gentlemen's agreements between corrupt union bosses and the occupant of the Oval Office.
For well nigh 75 years, the UHW has been one of the proudest and most independent entities within the union movement. Organized from the ground up by those who tend to the most basic needs of the sick and infirm, the UHW has never been involved in a scandal, never tried to shake down those for whom its members work, and—unlike other oppressive unions (i.e., UAW)—never destroyed its own industry.
Maybe that's why Andy Stern wanted to destroy it. And Barack Obama wants to help him.
Stern says he didn't like the way UHW president Sal Rosselli represented his members. Unfortunately for Stern, the members of the UHW did. So, typical of Stern's way of working out such problems, he made Rosselli an offer he couldn't refuse: Get out. Now. Rosselli, with the full support of his members, sent back the message to Stern that he and his union “rejected this imposition.” (Which seems to be a very nice way of saying “Go forth and multiply.”) And then the battle was joined.
As ALG News reported yesterday, UHW was then promptly placed under trusteeship by SEIU, Rosselli was out, and he went and formed the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). He took tens of thousands of the workers with him, and the numbers continue growing.
So where does Barack Obama enter into all of this. Well, as the highly placed consigliore to Stern's SEIU, Obama knows on which side his bread is buttered. He knows, for example, that through December, 2008, the SEIU spent and incredible $60.7 million getting him elected to the presidency. And he also knows that, overall in the 2008 election cycle, Stern's SEIU put 96 percent of its federal campaign contributions into the pockets of Democratic candidates.
There's something else Barack Obama knows, as well: if the Stern gang is allowed to succeed in its hostile takeover of the UHW and undermine the newly formed NUHW, it will mean tens of millions of dollars more for the SEIU to spend on behalf of Mr. Obama and his leftwing programs. And that's why—directly at Andy Stern's direction—the President of the United States is now intervening in cut off stimulus funds to the state of California unless they bow to Stern's demands not to temporarily reduce the pay of home health care workers.
Oh, it's not that Andy Stern really cares whether the state of California cuts its contribution to employee wages from $12.10 an hour (where it currently stands) to $10.10 an hour (as the governor and the legislature have been forced by budgetary restraints to reduce it to). His single, solitary concern is about what will best position him to seize the UHW and pocket the members' compulsory union dues.
So, last week, he persuaded his best bud Barack Obama to override the will of the people, the governor, and the elected representatives of the sovereign state of California and tell them, in short, to pay up—or else. The “or else” being that Obama would refuse to give the state the federal stimulus funds to which, by law, it is entitled. Forget the legality, or ethics, of such a strong-arm tactic. After, all, this is the Obamessiah we're talking about.
Just to make sure that Schwarzenegger and his ilk got the message straight, Obama even had his minions include Stern's henchmen in on what should have been a privileged and private conference between state and Administration officials. By the time the call was concluded, state officials knew that Don Andy was calling the shots—aimed directly at their heads.
Now, Stern can go back to the recalcitrant UHW workers, jut out his chin, flex his muscles, and point to his consigliore in the Oval Office as proof of his insurmountable power—and then they won't join NUHW. And if any them still try to hold out for the NUHW and its beloved leader, Sal Roselli … well, rumor has it that Andy has a horse's head in the trunk.
Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News Bureau.