« | »

SEIU Swarm Over House Of Dem ‘Banker’

From Fortune Magazine:

What’s really behind SEIU’s Bank of America protests?

By Nina Easton

May 19, 2010

(FORTUNE) — Every journalist loves a peaceful protest-whether it makes news, shakes up a political season, or holds out the possibility of altering history. Then there are the ones that show up on your curb–literally.

Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that — in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action — makes his family fair game.

Waving signs denouncing bank "greed," hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. "When are they going to leave?" Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly "outed" him, and slipped through his front door.

"Excuse me," Baer told his accusers, "I need to get into the house. I have a child who is alone in there and frightened."

Now this event would accurately be called a "protest" if it were taking place at, say, a bank or the U.S. Capitol. But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be "mob." Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise, and it worked-even on the police. A trio of officers who belatedly answered our calls confessed a fear that arrests might "incite" these trespassers.

What’s interesting is that SEIU, the nation’s second largest union, craves respectability. Just-retired president Andy Stern is an Obama friend and regular White House visitor. He sits on the President’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission. He hobnobs with those greedy Wall Street CEOs — executives much higher-ranking than my neighbor Baer — at Davos. His union spent $70 million getting Democrats elected in 2008.

In the business community, though, SEIU has a reputation for strong-arm tactics against management, prompting some companies to file suit.

Now those strong-arm tactics, stirred by supposedly free-floating (as opposed to organized) populist rage, have come to the neighborhood curb. Last year it was AIG executives — with protestors met by security guard outside. Now it’s any executive — and they’re on the front stoop. After Baer’s house, the 14 buses left to descend on the nearby residence of Peter Scher, a government relations executive at JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500)…

When I asked Stephen Lerner, SEIU’s point-person on Wall Street reform, about these tactics, he accused me of getting "emotional." Lerner was more comfortable sticking to his talking points: "Millions of people are losing their homes, and they have gone to the banks, which are turning a deaf ear."

SEIU has said it wants to organize bank tellers and call centers

Comes the dawn.

– [A]nd its critics point out that a great way to worsen employee morale, thereby making workers more susceptible to union calls, is to batter a bank’s image through protest. (SEIU officials say their anti-Wall Street campaign has nothing to do with their organizing efforts.) Complicating this picture is the fact that BofA is the union’s lender of choice — and SEIU, suffering financially, owes the bank nearly $4 million in interest and fees…

Another revelation.

Sunday’s onslaught wasn’t designed for mainstream media consumption. There were no reporters from organizations like the Washington Post, no local camera crews who might have aired criticism of this private-home invasion. With the media covering the conservative Tea Party protesters, the behavior of individual activists has drawn withering scrutiny.

Instead, a friendly Huffington Post blogger showed up, narrowcasting coverage to the union’s leftist base. The rest of the message these protesters brought was personal-aimed at frightening Baer and his family, not influencing a broader public.

Of course, HuffPost readers responding to the coverage assumed that Baer was an evil former Bush official. He’s not. A lifelong Democrat, Baer worked for the Clinton Treasury Department, and his wife, Shirley Sagawa, author of the book The American Way to Change and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, is a prominent national service advocate.

In the 1990s, the Baers’ former bosses, Bill and Hillary Clinton, denounced the "politics of personal destruction." Today politicians and their voters of all stripes grieve the ugly bitterness that permeates our policy debates. Now, with populist rage providing a useful cover, it appears we’ve crossed into a new era: The politics of personal intimidation. To top of page

Funny how the media elites take a less generous mood when it happens on their doorstep.

Still, this outdoes the previous ACORN/Working Families demonstrations in front of the AIG executives in Connecticut, since those did not actually go onto anyone’s private property.

And, of course, it is just one more step down the path to Greek-like riots.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, May 20th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “SEIU Swarm Over House Of Dem ‘Banker’”

  1. mr_bill

    Looks like some more of that intolerance and violence that BJ Clinton was warning about….hey wait…those aren’t Tea Partiers surrounding that man’s house and terrifying his children…those are hardcore liberals!

  2. bill

    AstroTurfing … It’s what the left does. Probably because their members have problems with reading and writing so they need store bought signs and megaphone orchestration … With matching tee-shirts.

  3. U NO HOO

    Too bad Baer didn’t live in New Orleans, there wouldn’t be school buses to ride.

  4. proreason

    bring it on.

    better now than later.

  5. BannedbytheTaliban

    One day they are going to picket outside the wrong person’s house…..

    • JohnMG

      My thoughts exactly. But if the tree needs pruning, begin at the top, because most of the idiots you see in this picture don’t have brains enough to function without somebody winding them up and pointing them in the right direction. You’ll notice Stern cut his losses and left early….albeit with one hell of a pension from the other useful idiots who are too dumb to realize what’s happening.

      It’s going to get ugly before it gets better.

  6. Right of the People

    Probably more than half of those idiots were told they could get a free T-shirt if they waved their signs and yelled obscenities. Maybe a couple of joints too.

    Banned,

    I’m with you. One day they’re going pick on the wrong person and find out what pain is all about.

  7. conant

    In 1933 the National Socialists dressed their thugs in brown, other than that I don’t see any difference. Then as now the cops stood back and let it happen. Remember mayor Dinkins pulled the cops out and let the mobs hunt and kill Jews in the streets while claiming as well that he didnt want to inflame the situation.

    • catie

      And dinkins is also a hero. Well, it is rich that these democrats had the pleasure of having these thoughtful seiu thugs terrorize their teen. While I don’t condone their actions, it is a bit funny to me. Wonder if they’re having second thoughts about this man they support.

  8. White_Polluter

    Please, Please, Please come down to Texas to protest.

    The fist is close, the law is far.

  9. retire05

    Well, well, well, it seems like Nina Easton got a dose of HuffingtonPost. The HP seems to object to Easton’s “whining” about SEIU thugs invading private property.

    This is not going to end until someone puts one of these SEIU thugs down and is willing to go to court to defend their right to protect their family.

    If anyone thinks that the election of Barack Obama hasn’t encouraged these thugs they would be wrong.

    So now what? Are we going to see the U.S. turn into Greece? I am sure that Andy Stern didn’t bail because the SEIU is in such good shape.

    God, how all this disgusts me.

  10. Deserat

    First, Great Site – I’ve lurked for a long time and really appreciate you finding, editing and commenting on the relevant news.

    Second – too bad these people live in DC where their 2nd Amendment Rights are fairly stripped down. I would have had my trusty weapon ready at the door and invited them all to take a step off my property. As for the police, why didn’t they use their force? What these people are doing needs to be advertised and I’m sure a little extra force by the local constabulary would have gotten some media attention.

    Third, the irony of them doing this to a fellow Democrat is delicious.

    Fourth, a general comment – I really fear for what is happening in my country. I don’t live there right now due to some other obligations, however, the more I read, the more it seems as this current government is truly trying to destroy what is great about my country. If they truly believe the dogma that they preach, they can come on over the Europe and become citizens here. Leave the USA as it is – as a bastion of freedom, liberty and opportunity. I keep wondering where I could go to get health care, participate in capitalism, own property, benefit from initiative, be free if the USA keeps going on the trajectory it is. Let alone that our enemies are currently emboldened by the foreign policy this administration is promulgating. In any case, please keep shining that powerful flashlight on the hypocrisy and lies that have been occurring in the media and by our current government (and the world).




« Front Page | To Top
« | »