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"We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama" - Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
"I owe these unions." - Barack Obama
Obama hasn't forgotten he owes the unions, who were instrumental in getting him elected President. In his first two weeks in office, Obama issued three pro-union executive orders. In his third week in office, he issued a fourth pro-union executive order. The fortune spent spent by the SEIU to elect Obama ($60 million, according to the SEIU) has gained the union access to power. A number of SEIU officials have been named to the Obama team. Anna Burger, SEIU secretary-treasurer, was appointed to Obama's economic recovery board. White House political director Patrick Gaspard is a former SEIU executive. The unions also scored big when one of the most pro-union voices in the House of Representatives, Hilda Solis (D-CA), was named as Obama's Labor Secretary. The aforementioned SEIU President, Mr. Stern, says he visits the White House weekly, and has influence over issues from the stimulus package to health care reform to immigration. "We get heard," boasted Stern.
Vice President Joe Biden made no secret of the fact that Obama's stimulus package was aimed at boosting union jobs.
“ We're going to make sure that in every policy, every decision, we don't lose sight of the folks that brought us to the dance,” [Biden] said -- a reference to organized labor’s support of the Obama-Biden ticket. “And toward that end, we have to make sure that the jobs we're creating come with fair wages and decent benefits.”
Biden focused on the stimulus package, noting it will send taxpayer money through the pipeline to union jobs and specifically those in the building trades unions. "The focus of this administration the first month has been to rebuild American roads, bridges, waterways -- jobs for the building trades union,” he said.
The stimulus package producing union jobs doesn't sound so bad, until you realize that only 12.5% of Americans workers are unionized. Where does that leave the other 87.5% of Americans ? Out in the cold. In addition, 84% of construction jobs are non-union. They aren't getting any help from Obama/Biden either. And those higher union wages for "shovel-ready" stimulus projects come directly from the pockets of the American taxpayers, not that our federal government ever gives a whit about them.
Btw, Obama has just announced that he's seeking a 2% pay raise for federal employees in 2010. That would be the federal employees unions, the teachers union, etc. That will cost the taxpayers roughly $20 billion more. While the rest of the workforce is losing jobs, getting their hours cut, and getting their paychecks reduced due to the recession, government employees roll merrily along and get their pay hikes, just as Congress did back in january (a $4,700 annual pay increase). The federal government spits directly in the face of the taxpayers at virtually every turn, and we just sit back and take it.
Now, it has come to light that the House health care bill, H.R. 3200, contains $10 billion to fund union retirees.
Greg Mourad of the National Right to Work Committee called it "a shameless case of political payback," saying Democrats and President Barack Obama are trying "to force the rest of us to pay billions to cover those unions' health care."
Big labor, primarily the UAW, thinks they didn't get ENOUGH taxpayer dollars from H.R. 3200. Incredible. Like we haven't bailed out the UAW enough already. With the taxpayer tab for the auto company bailouts running near $100 billion, Big Labor wants yet more and more, even after the unions emerged with large ownership stakes in GM and Chrysler following those companies highly politicized bankruptcy proceedings that rewarded the unions far in excess of investors. The unions will own 39% of GM, and 55% of Chrysler.
The upshot of all this is crystal clear - If you want something from the federal government, just buy the politicians. Same as it ever was.
Change You Can Believe In........my butt.
"When special interests put their thumb on the scale, and distort the free market, the people who compete by the rules come in last." - Barack Obama, August 2008.
I guess we can throw that quote out in the trash with the others.