Union boss Andy Stern to run his own candidates!

The SEIU boss and leader of the Change to Win group of unions who broke away from the AFL-CIO is saying that his union

will actively recruit and finance its own candidates, even if that means running them against Democratic incumbents in primaries or backing Republicans in general elections.

On the performance of the two parties,

Stern says Democrats haven't done enough to keep American jobs from going overseas, and while many Americans have lost faith in the Republicans to run the country, "people don't yet believe electing Democrats will make that much of a difference.''

Stern also says that Republicans are more adept at reaching ordinary voters. "The Democrats think elections are 'Jeopardy' or 'College Bowl' and Republicans think they are  'American Idol,''' he said.

Of course, it wouldn't be the first time the unions have worked both sides of the street. The UMW's John L Lewis endorsed Wendell Willkie back in 1940, I believe.

But I had the impression that, amongst the majority of lefty bloggers, Stern was the new face of unionism - smart, an organizer, a leader, a negotiator, untainted by past labor connections to corruption, organized crime and the like.

Is this a general shot across Dem bows? Or does he want something in particular from the party? Or are we going to start get some NARAL/Chafee situations with the SEIU?

Or has he in mind a sort of shadow Labour Party (along British lines), still within the Democratic Party, but an alternative central source of cash and support to the DCCC, say, for House candidates.

Our old friend Rahm Emanuel may well think that. In reaction to the Stern quote, he says

I don't know how he can say that. The candidates I recruit are strong advocates for working, middle-class families across the country.

What do folks here with union connections think, I wonder?

Tags: Andy Stern, Change to Win, Democrats, Labor, SEIU, Unions (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Re: Union leader Andy Stern to run candidates

1) No one now active in union politics worked on the Willkie campaign, so it isn't a useful point to make in evaluating any threat to the traditional adherence of union voters to the Democratic party

2) Willkie was, as it happens, a fairly atypical GOP candidate

3) Groups and voting blocs do, however, occasionally get tired of being taken for granted

4) On the whole, Stern's movement can be viewed as the first sign of life from the slumbering national union movement in decades, and since

5) union voters traditionally vote Blue, signs of life from the union movement are a good thing even if there's a temporary dust-up.

That would be my take.

signed,
Former (but recent) member of CWA local 4730  
(my job changed; my politics didn't)

by Christopher Walker 2006-03-07 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Union leader Andy Stern to run candidates

My Willkie crack a lame attempt at humor.

Uh oh...

by skeptic06 2006-03-07 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Union boss Andy Stern to run own candidates

It's interesting to see some spunk and passion coming out of the labor movement. I'd rather they didn't back Republicans considering how that it really would be a NARAL and Chaffey situation (couldn't have said it better), but talk and action like that may very well wake some people up on our side of the aisle.

by Quinton 2006-03-07 03:27PM | 0 recs

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