July 27, 2004


SEIU Chief Says the Democrats Lack Fresh Ideas: Stern Asserts That a Kerry Win Could Set Back Efforts to Reform the Party (David S. Broder, July 27, 2004, Washington Post)

Breaking sharply with the enforced harmony of the Democratic National Convention, the president of the largest AFL-CIO union said Monday that both organized labor and the Democratic Party might be better off in the long run if Sen. John F. Kerry loses the election.

Andrew L. Stern, the head of the 1.6 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said in an interview with The Washington Post that both the party and its longtime ally, the labor movement, are "in deep crisis," devoid of new ideas and working with archaic structures.

Stern argued that Kerry's election might stifle needed reform within the party and the labor movement. [...]

Stern made it clear that his complaints long preceded Kerry's nomination. He said that when Clinton was president, he demonstrated how little he cared for the Democratic Party. Calling the former president "the greatest fundraiser of his time," Stern asked: "If you think the Democratic Party is valuable, why would you leave it bankrupt?" Other elected officials are equally indifferent to the party, he said, adding that if Kerry is elected "he would smother" any effort to give it more intellectual heft and organizational muscle.

If the Party were a human being Democrats would want to unplug it--it's braindead.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2004 1:03 PM

SEIU is one of the problems not one of the solutions. His diagnosis is correct, but I cannot believe that he has a cure in mind.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 27, 2004 8:50 PM

Unions themselves are archaic structures. Here's some fresh ideas for Stern to ponder: workers don't equate their political positions with their trade. A worker might consider foreign policy or social policy more important factors in an election than support for his union. A worker might just resent his wages being pilfered to fund political causes that he has no say in. A worker might just identify more with the company he works for than all of the other workers in the country who do the same kind of work he does. A worker might just see his job as a temporary phase in his career goals of breaking into management, and not a permanent identity which pits him in eternal opposition to management. A worker might just resent being considered a member of a class.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 28, 2004 1:20 AM