Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

The Case of Unions v. Capital

SEIU’s Andy Stern is playing the class warfare card again, taking aim at “tax dodges” by private equity groups. It makes for good rhetoric, but it’s little more than a politically motivated effort to drive a wedge where none need exist. In fact, with his members’ money tied up in pensions that rely on hefty returns from private equity, SEIU’s boss could be harming his own members’ retirement security. (That seems to be OK with him, though, since his primary only concern is getting more dues-paying members.) Stern’s (il)logic: “I agree … that what is good for business is good for America. But I don’t think that applies to private equity groups.”

But there’s more to this story. Stern’s union has to make a deal with major private equity groups which own companies that employ SEIU members. From another story:

The Blackstone Group, which took over about 11 million square feet of area office space after it bought out Equity Office Properties, said in a statement yesterday it generally supports the Service Employees International Union Local 615’s attempt to get more full-time work and health-insurance benefits for union members.

Blackstone added, though, that its support was contingent on a “gradual transition” away from part-time work for janitors, who are now in contract talks with cleaning companies that hire them.

Meanwhile, the Billions for Billions blog has other reasons SEIU has to get a clue.