Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama and Patrick: Collectively Bargaining for Union Support

Can someone please tell Barack Obama and Deval Patrick that they are elected chief executives, not union cheerleaders?

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made it a point to attend a rowdy protest outside the Statehouse put on by over 1,000 union members. His public statement to the angry mob:

“I’m here to deliver one very simple message, which is we don’t need to attack public sector workers to make change for the people of the Commonwealth." Link to Source: Boston Globe

This reminds us of a previous incident from 2009, when Governor Patrick hosted a meeting with fired Hyatt Hotel workers and union leaders, and threatened Hyatt Hotels with a state boycott if it refused to hire back housekeeping staff.

“But surely there is some way to retain the jobs for your housekeeping staffs, as other hotels have done, and to work with them to help the company meet its current challenges, rather than tossing them out unceremoniously to fend for themselves while the people they trained take their jobs at barely livable wages.’’ Link to Source: Boston Globe

Meanwhile, the Patrick administration is delivering a much different message to the Massachusetts private sector. For example, on efforts to increase tax collections from Massachusetts businesses next year, Department of Revenue spokesman Robert Bliss reportedly said, "You hunt where the ducks are." Link to Source: Boston Globe

This isn't just a Massachusetts phenomenon. It's also playing out on the national stage.

President Obama's political machine and Democratic party officials are reportedly working to help organize union protests around the country in unity with public labor marches in Wisconsin. Link to Source: Washington Post

AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka recently made comments claiming that he speaks with officials in the White House daily and visits the White House several times a week, while at the same time it's reported that President Obama hasn't spoken with some members of his own cabinet in years. Check out the videos in this link.

Then, there are Obama's recent comments to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he challenged the business community to "get in the game" and spend some of their money to create jobs. Link to Source: Boston Herald

It's abundantly clear to us that leaders in Washington and Massachusetts are firmly taking the side of organized labor in economic matters at the same time they are siding against business interests. Can there be any doubt why? Check out the latest report of independent expenditures in the most recent round of Massachusetts state elections. The list is filled with unions.

We happen to disagree with Obama and Patrick's one-sided support of unions. But, we think that what makes it so wrong isn't necessarily that they are making the wrong choice, it's that they are choosing sides in the first place.

The proper role of a chief executive isn't to pick sides. It's to promote the advancement of everyone. Obama and Patrick would do well to remember that they have a responsibility to help all Americans get ahead, not just those who carry union cards in their wallets.


  1. why would the state side against businesses when it needs corporate and capital gains revenues to fill its coffers?

    too many points in your post to rebut. for one, patrick you'll recall was seen as so anti-union that he might lose the election because he couldn't get the unions behind him to work for him on election day. fortunately for him, charlie baker promised to fire thousands of union workers and in one of his ads.

    and you forget why the governor singled out hyatt. it's one of the reasons why unions matter. let me remind you fred and meredith:

    The Hyatt Regency Boston, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and the Hyatt Harborside fired 98 housekeepers on Aug. 31, replacing them with $8-an-hour employees from Hospitality Staffing Solutions. Many had been cleaning rooms at the chain’s hotels for more than 20 years and earned about $15 an hour.

    Some of the housekeepers said they were asked to train their replacements and were assured that the crews were only vacation and holiday fill-ins. The cleaning company and Hyatt deny these claims, with Hyatt saying the changes were neither sudden nor secretive.

  2. The largest independent expenditure group was not a labor union but ... well, the RGA, which went after Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill. And where did their $31 million in the third quarter alone come from?

    Regular folks like Rupert Murdoch, Texas swift boater Bob Perry and hedge fund regular guy Paul Singer.

    Bay State Future, the other GOP aligned group, along with the RGA, made up for "the vast majority" of independent expenditures according to OCPF.

  3. Bay State Future is most definitely NOT a "GOP aligned group." According to OCPF, the group is funded by the Democratic Governors Association, SEIU and the Mass Teachers Association. For more info on Bay State Future, check out this Globe story:

  4. MA is living in the past. When will Minority LEader Jones have a strong statement ? Bet it is never, as he does not fight Deval or DeLeo so as to preserve the crumbs of local aid that he does get. Brad, where are you ???? The unions are busting MA.....but we will just ignore them as they are the real funding and get out the vote mechanism of the Democrats. Look at Capuano yesterday...a blabbering fool who wants to have a civil debate? He's stuck on stupid along with the rest. MA will continue to get what they deserve until there is a total revolt and change of parties on Beacon Hill.... We can only dream. Pnadering to the union heavyweights is business as usual in MA.


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