Shocking News – Big Labor Implicated In Blagojevich Arrest

Shocking News – Big Labor Implicated In Blagojevich Arrest

“Charlotte Cronin, Executive Director of Family Support Network of Illinois, a Peoria-based advocacy group for the developmentally disabled, confirmed that union organizers knocked on doors this past summer, and that some relatives of the disabled found them ‘overly persistent.’  She said the union, which she believed to be the SEIU, was able to get home addresses because they are a matter of public record.” 

Thus reported the Wall Street Journal this week, in a story regarding arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. 

Ms. Cronin’s experience serves as a chilling harbinger to Americans as the incoming Obama administration and Pelosi/Reid Congress prepare to pass such pro-union legislation as undemocratic card-check, dishonestly entitled the “Employee Free Choice Act.”  That proposed law, which serves as a payback to Big Labor for its enormous political contributions, literally eliminates the secret ballot during union elections, and would open the door to the very type of thuggery and intimidation described above by Ms. Cronin. 

After all, if union organizers were merely “overly persistent” when approaching relatives of disabled patients, just imagine how menacingly they’ll behave while approaching employees to not-so-subtly “encourage” them to sign cards favoring unionization. 

In this particular instance, however, the union organizers’ troubling behavior relates not to a routine organizing campaign, but rather the distasteful saga of Governor Blagojevich. 

According to the federal indictment, Blagojevich allegedly suggested a pay-for-play agreement with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing labor group.  Under the alleged proposal, he would receive a posh position within the SEIU following his term as Governor in exchange for filling the open Senate seat of President-Elect Barack Obama with someone especially friendly to the organization. 

Additionally, just before Governor Blagojevich was arrested last week on conspiracy charges, he planned to issue an executive order allowing unions to organize Illinois state employees providing home care for the developmentally disabled.  Federal labor laws typically don’t apply to those state workers, so Governor Blagojevich signed a similar order in 2003. 

Obviously, this episode raises more questions about the SEIU, and Big Labor generally. 

For example, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has also prepared a similar executive order, which one state legislator has described as a “hit-and-run” favor to Big Labor, as she leaves office to serve as Department of Homeland Security Secretary for President Obama.  Under her midnight order, over 25,000 state employees will suddenly be entitled to appoint union representatives with “meet-and-confer” authority with state officials.  The order also mandates that the new union representatives be allowed to meet on a quarterly basis with state agency chiefs under three dozen cabinet agencies. 

Understandably, Arizona officials immediately wondered whether this also constituted a form of payback to Big Labor, especially since the SEIU immediately applauded the decision in an official announcement.  As reported by The Arizona Republic, the “SEIU has consulted with the Governor’s office on the development of the executive order, and is among the unions that would look to represent state employees.” 

As noted by State Representative John Kavanagh, “if she thought it was needed, she should have done it six years ago, not as she’s jogging out the door.  Now, she’s going to create a labor policy that we’ll have to deal with long after she’s gone.” 

These examples reflect a larger national phenomenon in which Big Labor expects reward for its support of Obama and successful Democratic candidates across the country.  As reported by Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com, the SEIU’s political action committee spent over $27 million on behalf of Obama’s campaign, and the union’s website states that members “knocked on 1.87 million doors, made 4.4 million phone calls, registered 85,914 voters and sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail in support of Obama.” 

And as it concerns Governor Blagojevich, the SEIU was his largest contributor, giving more than $1.8 million to his campaigns.  Although the SEIU has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich scandal, troubling questions obviously remain. 

At the very least, the issue of union payback is something about which Americans must be wary as they wonder how the Pelosi/Reid Congress and President Obama could possibly push so hard for laws that so fundamentally contradict our democratic ideals.

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