Is Andrew Stern, the retired president of the Service Employees International Union, a born-again capitalist? That's the emerging view at SEIU headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. and various points beyond. For months, Stern, who stepped down last spring after 14 years at the helm, has been championing a proposal to grant a limited-period tax break for U.S. corporations on investment income earned abroad and transferred to here. Stern's allies in the labor movement are shaking their heads in disbelief. His union enemies are saying, "I told you so." Many in the business world are welcoming him like an old friend. Yet the real story may be that Stern is being his old self: a believer in a large-scale government-corporate-union partnership to generate jobs - preferably union ones.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has taken her gloves off in the ongoing war within the states. And her supporters are aching for more. In a speech before a partisan audience at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. last Saturday, Solis proclaimed solidarity with Wisconsin public-sector unions and their supporters who have all but shut down the state legislature in protest of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposals to curb public spending.