Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

Ari Berman kicked off the conversation about Mark Penn with a great article on his career as executive in a company with a union-busting division.  Ezra Klein is calling labor leaders to see what they think about Hillary Clinton's chief strategist having this kind of history, and I'm curious how they respond.  Typically union leaders hate criticizing Democratic officials, and do not want to be forced to potentially get into a spat over something like this.  

Mark Schmitt also points out that Penn isn't particularly ethical in his polling practices.

And that fact proves Ari Berman's conclusion that Penn's choice of categories has little to do with the actual data and everything to do with his presumptions going in -- populism doesn't work, don't criticize corporations -- which in turn have a delightfully precise correspondence with the interests of the clients of the firm of which Penn is Worldwide President and CEO.  And that's why neither Senator Clinton, the people with good sense in her campaign, labor leaders or other Democrats should accept lobbyist Howard Paster's explanation to Berman that Penn's corporate and anti-union clientele is "part of a whole 'nother life we lead."

This is a dilemma for labor leaders.  For my part, I hope they put pressure on Clinton to distance herself from Penn.  He's a seriously bad Democrat, and they would be letting their members down if they handled this problem any other way.

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Labor, Mark Penn, union (all tags)



Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

Did you see that Andy Stern said "no comment"? I thought he might voice his displeasure, at least in a general non-candidate specific sort of way.

by clarkent 2007-05-09 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

That's weak, especially weak considering his reputation. Labor can either beat her in the primary or go down when she wins the general.

by Bob Brigham 2007-05-09 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

 I have to wonder just how deeply the leadership of various Democratic constituencies, such as labor, has been essentially infiltrated by "minders" who are there to keep a lid on any REAL progress.

 And someone needs to ask Penn an obvious question: Why are you working for a Democrat?

by Master Jack 2007-05-09 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

I've been wondering about the infiltration of our organsations by people who are not at all friendly to the organisations actual cause, but all to friendly to big business.

Great question for Penn. I think it's got something to do with a democrat being very likely to win in 2008 and Hillary is amongst the most friendly to business and to free trade.

A good question for Hillary: Why is one of your closest campaign people a rabidly anti-union, pro-big business union buster?

by Quinton 2007-05-10 01:18PM | 0 recs

Anyone who has a proven track record at helping Democrats win is OK by me!

As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats need more like Penn,  Emmanuel, and Schoen.  As far as I'm concerned, you can keep Shrum and his ilk.

by ChicagoDude 2007-05-09 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?


Who else than McEntee at AFSCME is even thought to consider Clinton a possibility for endorsment in the primary?  

And speaking about AFSCME, this would seem to be a unique union since the primary threat in their sector is that governors or the federal government will come in an issue executive orders banning unions, like Daniels did in Indiana reversing Bayh's 1988 order allowing them.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-09 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

Clinton is surrounded by the worst people in Democratic politics. She wins and Harold Ford will be running the DNC.

by Bob Brigham 2007-05-09 03:12PM | 0 recs
Get ready to hear this next year

Beltway columnist, June 2008:

 "The Democrats claim to be the party of working people. That might come as a surprise to Hillary's campaign manager, a man named Mark Penn, whose union-busting is legendary..."

Retail politics scenario:

 "You should vote Democratic. They care about working families."

 "But isn't Hillary a union-buster or something?"

 Are the Democrats TRYING to lose next year?


by Master Jack 2007-05-09 04:13PM | 0 recs
Yes/ nt

by Hellmut 2007-05-09 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

There's an interesting Gov race in KY this year, where the chief strategists/consultants for both Clinton and Obama are joining up to work for the anti-Union candidate --running as a democrat-- that voted for Fletcher last time. Money.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-05-09 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Will Labor Support Union-busting Penn?

Speaking of labor issues, check out what happened at a local Seattle TV news station this week:

KOMO fires three veteran TV reporters
AFTRA union to investigate abrupt dismissals

Fisher Communications-owned KOMO/4 pink-slipped three of its veteran reporters Monday morning.

Breaking news reporters Kevin Reece and Joe Furia and North Puget Sound reporter April Zepeda were let go without warning and, curiously, in the middle of the May ratings-sweep period.

"I'm blown away by it," said Furia, who has been with KOMO for more than a decade. "I thought they were happy with my work, and I had no reason to believe otherwise. ... Things do evolve. I was just used to evolving with them."

Zepeda echoed Furia's surprise. She was called into the station general manager's office from her Edmonds home on what was supposed to be her day off.

"I kept asking, 'Why, why, why?' " she said. "And they just kept answering, 'We're reorganizing.' "

Zepeda had been with KOMO 11 years.


The firings came days after Furia and Zepeda volunteered to assist the newsroom's bargaining unit. KOMO's newsroom is part of the Seattle chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Employees reached an agreement for a new contract in mid-March, but station management has not signed off on it.

"This stinks to high heaven," said John Sandifer, executive director of the Seattle local of AFTRA.

Three more victims of the decades-long conservative assault on workers and labor.

by kovie 2007-05-09 06:29PM | 0 recs


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