SEIU makes Labor Day Weekend News: Federal probe, LAX strike and the altruism of public service
One of the key elements in news judgment is proximity: Like there’s a murder on the Westside and the Times gets excited so the next thing you know every crime on the Westside is big news.
In this case the story that’s got proximity starts with the Times breaking the story of how Service Employees International Union’s biggest California local made six-figure payments to firms owned by relatives of its
president, Tyrone Freeman.
It’s a total embarrassment for the one labor leader in America who actually organizes workers, Andrew Stern, and a series of developments keep the story alive: Officers ousted, FBI investigates and today we learn Democratic Congressman George Miller blusters like he really cares and is going to do something about it.
All that makes the Labor Day weekend strike by SEIU Local 1877 at LAX more interesting. The baggage handlers, security personnel and janitors want 50 cent raise on the $10.50 an hour they earn plus health benefits from the private contractors they work for. So there’s going to be delays and confusions on the holiday weekend.
And those stories lead me to the Labor Day weekend commentary at City Watch by SEIU Local 721 leader Julie Butcher who represents the lowest-paid city workers actually has the brass to declare: “No one in public service does it for the money.”
OK, I’m as guilty as anyone of using hyperbole to make a point. I like and respect Julie but she knows better than to argue that getting a sweetheart contract from her pal the mayor and supporting his efforts to raise taxes all the time are done for altruistic reasons.
It’s like the mayor explaining his selling the city to special interests by sayiing: “Sure, I stole but I stole for you.”
LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer welcomed administrators back for the start of the new school year with a reminder that they should report it when they or their staffs molest young children — something they forgot to do last year.
And he promised real changes: “Let me tell you what this is about. We have to hold ourselves accountable…This is the future of America. If we don’t solve this, we will be a second-rate nation by 2020.”
That made oft-abstaining School Board Member Julie Korenstein, who’s wavering about running for a 6th or is it 7th term, gush: “He made people comfortable and he recognized them, which is the first time I’ve seen a superintendent do that.”