New Orleans Recent press reports and a big story in the Wall Street Journal have been sniping at the huge $85M set of contributions that the Service Employees International Union made on the Obama campaign. On one hand they seem to be insinuating crass influence buying and on the other hand they are hinting at financial mismanagement. Poppycock! Pundits, pols, and others can throw a lot of brickbats at SEIU and its leadership, but not for these decisions that actually show real leadership, risk taking, and exactly what it should mean to accept the challenge in these hard times to run a union and try to organize the unorganized.
Unions are dying and bleeding members on a daily basis. SEIU under its president, Andy Stern, made a huge bet with Obama once they came into the Obama camp in the spring of 2008, and understood that their stewardship of membership dues only mattered if they could prove it really meant something in terms of real change, and that means a different set of labor laws and a chance at real health care reform for members whose wages can’t afford most policies now and members who work in that industry.