Once again, Our Glorious Maximum Leader was speaking in public, and once again the Irony Meters were pinging harder than a volume meter at a Metallica concert. And once again, Andy was entirely oblivious to the absolute jaw-dropping level of hypocrisy coming out of his piehole.
Today's victim is Steve Early, who went to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University on the evening of April 1st to hear Nice Scarf give a talk on "A Country That Works" (and yes, that is the title of the book that was published in October of 2006), and Mr. Early evidently decided to take one for the team, and attend this riveting speech, and provide a report for the nice folks at Talking Union. It does go a bit long, but Mr. Early lays out just how hypocritical La Stern is in his dealings with other organizations. Eventually, he gets to some issues that hit close to us here in Hotel California...
One could probably explain Andy's quotes above to the fact that it was April Fool's Day when he was speaking, but I believe that Andy actually thinks people are buying his BS.
So, when it comes time for questions, I hit the mike with a gentle reminder that Stern’s four-year old federation, Change To Win, seems to have forgotten one of its founding principles-namely, that unions should stick to their own jurisdiction, instead of poaching on the turf of others? Could Stern’s current designs on hotels, casinos, and other culinary work sites be the reason why his former partner is now calling him a brazen, imperialistic, messianic union czar?
Stern jokes that this is just what John “calls me on a good day.” He then explains, in unconvincing fashion, that a recent convergence in corporate ownership of hotels and other commercial real estate properties has created a fortuitous jurisdictional overlap between Wilhelm’s organization and his own. With a look of total innocence and sincerity, Stern professes “no desire to compete in organizing hotels.” Instead, he envisions a bright future in which SEIU and what’s left of Wilhelm’s union will work together cooperatively, “just as we do with AFSCME in home care.” (Since only one question/statement per customer is allowed–and Andy looks eager to change the subject-I don’t get a chance to point out that SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees -AFSCME–have, in fact, feuded over home-based workers in California, Illinois, Iowa, and other states.)
In response to later queries from the floor, Stern does equally well in the unintended humor department. For example, a student asks him what makes for a good union. First on Andy’s list: “If I was being hypothetical, I’d say democracy”-an answer that produced not a titter of laughter, although it should have elicited major guffawing, given how hypothetical democracy is in SEIU these days. Several questions later, a Harvard worker, employed at the law school, hits the jackpot with a question about Stern’s stance on salary cuts for Harvard bosses, including its new president Drew Gilpin Faust. Like her predecessor Larry Summers, Faust earns nearly $600,000 a year-not as much as Wilhelm and Raynor combined, but close. Rather than laying off SEIU janitors, as Harvard is doing now, shouldn’t the university cut costs by paying its top brass less, the worker wants to know. Thinking perhaps of future Harvard invitations-or maybe just a longer stint, someday, at the Kennedy School– Stern refuses to play populist with the president’s pay. “I really don’t like pitting people against each other, ” he asserts demurely, a statement that John Wilhelm and many others may find hard to believe.
I'm still waiting for that "democracy" thing to kick in here at Zombie UHW - but I guess Stern and his minions are still too busy not "pitting people against each other" to let democracy take root around these parts.
Ah, well. One can keep hoping, right?