With billions of potential dues dollars at stake, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched its scheme to unionize the fast food industry in late 2009.
In addition to using the National Labor Relations Board and OSHA to target McDonald’s, the SEIU is now using a high-ranking official with the Department of Labor to push its agenda.
Since 2009, as has been well documented, President Obama has stocked the agencies that oversee the nation’s labor laws with pro-union appointees.
One of those individuals is a woman named Mary Beth Maxwell. Before joining the Department of Labor in 2009 as a senior advisor to then-Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Maxwell served as the founding executive director of the now-defunct “non-partisan” American Rights at Work (ARAW).
In the mid-2000s, AWAR was the union-funded group that pushed to effectively eliminate secret-ballot elections on union elections through the job-destroying and hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act.
Fast forward six years. The SEIU has invested tens of millions of dues dollars to unionize fast food workers. Maxwell is now the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and a senior advisor to Secretary Thomas Perez.
While her title has changed, Maxwell’s pushing of the union cause has not.
In a lengthy blogpost entitled, A Word From the Wise: Union, Maxwell tells the story of Terrence Wise, a fast-food worker who is part of the SEIU’s “Fight for $15” movement.
When I ask why he is part of the “Fight for $15” – a growing movement to give fast food workers the wages, benefits, and representation that will put them on the path to the middle-class – he talks about his three children and the better life he wants to make for them. Terrence is clear:
It’s not just the higher wage he’s fighting for; it’s a union, too.
Terrence is one of an incredible group of leaders that are building their union and leading the fight for higher wages.
They are building something new that turns on its head many people’s stereotypes of what unions are and to whom they give a voice. Only a few years ago, many questioned if unions’ time had simply passed.
But fast food workers are showing that coming together to form unions is still how workers can raise their voices and win concrete victories that none of them have the power to achieve by going it alone. They have mobilized, organized, and changed our national conversation about wages, reasonable schedules and work hours, and paid sick days.
Wise is one of SEIU’s “poster children” in its campaign to unionize the fast-food industry. He even has his own publicist through the same public relations firm that represents the SEIU and its “Fight for $15” campaign.
In his role as a “fast food worker” for the SEIU, Wise has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and blog posts, including Bloomberg, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, as well as Democracy Now.
That the SEIU’s attempt to unionize fast-food workers “by any means necessay” is not surprising.
However, that a high-ranking official within Barack Obama’s labor department would openly use the DOL’s official blog to pander for the purple union is, if nothing else, disappointing.