Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was preparing to issue an executive order prior to his arrest last week that would have allowed union organizing of home-care workers that could have benefited a labor union with close ties to the governor.
The existence of this executive order, though never signed, illustrates the close ties between the embattled governor and the powerful Service Employees International Union, the nation’s fastest growing labor organization. Last week, Gov. Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges, including that his office suggested a deal in which he would be given a job with an SEIU-affiliated group in exchange for naming a labor-friendly senator to fill the vacancy left by President-elect Barack Obama.
The executive order would have enabled the SEIU or another union to organize about 1,200 workers in the state who care for developmentally disabled people in their homes and would have augmented one signed by the governor in 2003, said Michelle Ringuette, an SEIU spokeswoman. The prior order opened the way for the SEIU to target a far larger number of home health-care workers. Such workers traditionally aren’t covered by federal labor law, though a number of states have enacted laws in recent years allowing unions to organize them.
Go read the whole article. Blagojevich was playing favorites among the unions by giving the SEIU a ‘leg-up’ over AFSCME in unionizing health care workers. That’s not a surprise, considering that Blagojevich was negotiating a ‘golden parachute’ with the SEIU.
This is yet more evidence of SEIU’s potential complicity in a ‘pay-for-play’ scandal with Governor Blagojevich. The union has also been accused of improper activities in health care organizing in California, among other things.
Given SEIU’s strong support for Obama and his political associates, it may ultimately be necessary for an independent prosecutor to investigate any criminal activities in which they may be involved.