Mia Camille Garza describes herself as "somebody who has fallen off the path." Her victims understandably aren't as charitable. Last Thursday, September 22, Garza, a former benefits clerk for the California-based, Service Employees International Union-affiliated United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) was sentenced in Sacramento Superior Court to 12 years and four months in prison for stealing information on nearly 30,000 union employees of Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout the state. The stolen information facilitated thefts, often of high-end merchandise, estimated thus far at more than $1 million. Garza pleaded no contest to 12 counts of identity theft on August 3. She's preparing for a restitution hearing on January 10. She already had been convicted in Contra Costa County, California on separate charges and sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
Almost everyone connected to organized labor by now has heard the news: Andrew Stern soon will resign as president of the Service Employees International Union. His departure in all likelihood will be permanent. And, if somewhat muted, so will the edgy aggression of the union he redefined. Stern made the announcement on April 14 at an SEIU executive board meeting, confirming a flurry of rumors emanating from an internal e-mail sent by Seattle SEIU local leader Diane Sosne. Stern subsequently e-mailed his own members: "There's a time to learn, a time to lead, and then there's a time to leave. And shortly, it will be my time to retire...and end my SEIU journey." The date of departure, though unspecified, will be within a month. Better political instincts suggest Stern will find plenty of ways to keep himself busy.
In a June 30 letter to the White House, Wal-Mart endorsed Obama's health care plan. The letter was jointly signed by Andrew Stern, boss of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and John Podesta, who led the Obama transition team and is chief executive of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
Although the move was unexpected to some, it was no surprise to NLPC. In a Special Report published in 2006 and updated in 2008, I chronicled the company's move to the Left in a futile campaign to placate liberal critics like Wal-Mart Watch, funded by SEIU. On major issues except for "card check," Wal-Mart has become a powerful tool of liberal activist groups.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, claims to be a voice for dispossessed people. But the New Orleans-based hard-Left nonprofit community organizing network of some 1,200 chapters and 400,000 dues-paying member households has a long history of shakedown artistry. And contrary to the group's official spin, its critics are hardly limited to "the rich" or "right-wingers." On March 19, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on issues relating to the 2008 election cycle. Prepared testimony from a credible witness indicated that the group operates what amounts to a Mafia-style protection racket. Indeed, the evidence was disturbing enough for Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., who previously had been a supporter, to call for further hearings focused solely on ACORN. There is a strong union angle, too, given that the group owns two locals of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).