The Bullies of Big Labor – by Michelle Malkin


The Boy Scouts’ motto is: Be prepared. Who knew it meant preparing to defend themselves against purple-shirted union thuggery over community service? Kids, pay attention. This is a teachable moment for all of you on power, politics and Big Labor’s culture of corruption.

Last week at a city council meeting in Allentown, Pa., a top official of the local Service Employees International Union chapter ranted about 17-year-old Scout Kevin Anderson’s park cleanup work. Anderson devoted some 200 hours to the job in order to earn an Eagle Scout badge. He picked up trash and helped clear a 1,000-foot walking path with fellow members of Boy Scouts Troop 301 of Center Valley.

But SEIU’s Nick Balzano gave them hell instead of thanks.

Balzano disparaged altruistic efforts in city parks and asserted that “there is (sic) to be no volunteers” since his union members were laid off. He then issued a witch hunt threat: “We’ll also be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails. We may file another grievance on that.” Citing union rules, he gave the Allentown city council, the Boy Scouts and all potential volunteers an iron-fisted ultimatum: “None of them can pick up a hoe. They can’t pick up a shovel. They can’t plant a flower. They can’t clear a bicycle path. They can’t do anything. Our people do that.”

That’s right. Balzano was ready to bludgeon the Boy Scout because his gung-ho volunteerism posed a threat to the SEIU labor monopoly. The outrageous display of Boss Balzano’s union protectionism provoked a national furor. SEIU headquarters in Washington immediately blamed “the disreputable Fox News and other right-wing outlets like Michelle Malkin’s accuracy challenged blog” for the backlash. While decrying their critics’ “fiction,” SEIU distanced itself from Balzano, denying that he was a top union leader and dismissing his remarks as “unauthorized.”

Fact: U.S. Department of Labor records from 2008 (their most recent filing) show that Balzano is no rogue rank-and-file member. He currently serves on the SEIU local’s executive board and previously served as president.

Fact: The union tried to minimize Balzano’s grievance threat as “inappropriate.” But the dirty open secret is that public-sector unions have routinely attacked volunteer workers who threaten their stranglehold.

Last June, union officials in Baraboo, Wis., filed a complaint against volunteer firefighters who built sandbag barricades to protect the city from record flooding. They whined that city Department of Public Works employees should have been called first and demanded overtime pay (for work they didn’t do) to compensate them.

Yes, kids, the city was knee-deep in water and the government union got mad that other people scrambled to work together in an emergency to put sand in bags, save homes and help their neighbors.


Public-sector unions aren’t about serving the public interest. They’re about serving their people, their power and their self-preservation.

In Montpelier, Vt., several years ago, the teachers union went after a superstar educator, Bill Corrow. The students, staff and supervisors at his school loved the social studies teacher and Vietnam veteran. But the Vermont Education Association hated him because he was a volunteer who did not accept payment for his elective course. Teachers unions are all for parents and schoolchildren volunteering their time to engage in political lobbying and power-expanding initiatives on the union’s behalf. But God help the community service-oriented individual with a passion for sharing his knowledge in their classrooms.

In California, union heavies in the Sacramento area sued a nonprofit environmental group for using college-age volunteers on a state-funded project to clean up a canyon and build a community trail. Big Labor dusted off an old law that requires community service volunteers to be paid prevailing wages for doing the same kind of cleanup that Allentown Boy Scout Kevin Anderson was punished for doing freely. The law was finally repealed, but not without a brass-knuckles fight.

As National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix, whose group monitors forced union abuses, pointed out during the battle: “Discerning California union bosses’ real agenda … is not hard. Volunteer workers don’t have to pay compulsory union dues to serve their communities, but most paid workers on public projects in California do. … (It) is yet another example of how government-authorized compulsory union dues corrupt the political process and furnish unscrupulous union officials with an enormous incentive to act against the public interest.”

SEIU President Andy Stern in Washington speaks for all of Big Labor when he describes his organizing philosophy: “We prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn’t work, we use the persuasion of power.” President Obama, who has made national service an administration priority, has been and will continue to be silent about the Big Labor bullies who make public enemies of Scouts with trash bags and hoes.

You see, kids, Obama owes Stern (his most frequent White House visitor) and his union brethren. SEIU alone poured more than $60 million in compulsory membership dues into Obama’s campaign and leaned on its workers to “volunteer” to knock on doors, place phone calls and send out mailers for the Democratic Party. No good deed goes unpunished by union bosses — unless it benefits their political empire.

  • Leonydus

    Nick Balzano is a COWARD. Like to see him take it up with a man, something he seems to lack knowledge about. He's likely the same kind of guy who talks big and then when confronted by an ADULT man, cowers in fear. The message to Balzano is “get a life, you ignorant punk”. He's the kind of guy who probably beats up girls because he 's too much of a coward to take on men. Come on over to Afghanistan so you can get rid of that yellow streak. Tough talker… that's about it.

  • sflbib

    Re: “None of them can pick up a hoe. They can’t pick up a shovel. They can’t plant a flower. They can’t clear a bicycle path. They can’t do anything. Our people do that.”

    Then why was the trash there? Why hadn't the union picked it up instead?

  • abrahamstubenhaus

    Michelle Malkin for President!!!
    Repeat….Michelle Malkin for President!!!

  • Carterthewriter

    On the one hand, liberals ask for volenteers, and with the other, they spank them.

  • therealend

    I believe the problem with these unions is an accidental discharge at a processing plant which irradiated their brains with weapons grade Bolognium.

  • tlwinslow

    “None of them can pick up a hoe. They can’t pick up a shovel. They can’t plant a flower. They can’t clear a bicycle path. They can’t do anything. Our people do that.”

    Right, without the govt. paying them protection money first :) So why doesn't the govt. prosecute them as a criminal enterprise under RICO?

  • Elaine

    As David Horowitz has written extensively about why and how those on the left are intent on destroying every institution in this country in order to remake it into their idea of heaven on earth, nothing they do is a surprise.

    His writings ought to be required reading for every American, particularly our vulnerable, brainwashed children.

    We are at war. Until those of us who have not been brainwashed accept that and act accordingly, we will lose. It is a fight to the death.

  • bubba4

    This is a teachable moment. The union guy got beat up from everyone up and down the chain all the way to the Govenor. He and the other six union heads all stepped down. The Eagle Scout was vindicated. This all happened before the weekend.

    Michele makes it sound like this guy was going to beat up the Scout…and she isn't as bad as WorldNetDaily that says it's Obama's fault really….

    Neither article talks about how the event has already been resolved.

    Saying you might file a grievance is to Michelle “bludgeon” and “hell”…but this is really a tempest in a teacup.

  • bubba4

    Because 39 of them had just been laid off. That's why they were pissed. Nick Balzano was one of those guys. Instead of being a union big-wig…he had also been laid off and not isn't even part of the union anymore.

    It's a disgruntled laid off worker…just lashing out.

  • frankmccafferty

    Hey, whats the big deal? The obamanation wants volunteers to work for the common good of the community. What happen to the day of service? MONEY!, MONEY!, MONEY!. SEIU is in my work place and what a joke the guy who claims to be a steward is. He is like the rest of the SEIU, a goon and tries to be a bully.

  • Jeremy Burns

    High levels of volunteerism undermine the rationale for big government activism. It's quite clear that SEIU is an adjunct of the Democrat Party and they share a commitment to expanding government largesse. If they have to attack a Boy Scout in service of that agenda then they feel no need to hesitate.

  • welldoneson

    This just shows what the unions have been told by national leaders.
    Don't worry about appearnces anymore, we're in charge, say or do
    whatever you have to do. Balzano isn't working alone. This is the
    same lot of bastards who are telling Obama what to do.

  • Elaine

    The Boy Scouts are one of the most hatred groups in this country by the saboteurs; i.e., the Progressives, i.e., the Communists and Socialists calling themselves liberals because they stand for God, country, honesty, integrity, service without compensation and self-sufficiency, all of which the saboteurs detest and are working to destroy.

  • Elaine

    Exactly. The puppet the anarchists have been grooming has finally been put into place. But Obama is a more than willing puppet because he has been conditioned, raised, mentored, and paid handsomely to do the dirty work necessary to destroy America. His strings are not a heavy burden but an honor.

  • hworta

    Actually the labor union official in question threatened legal action against the scouts before it got national attention then backed down after the fact. This is not an isolated incident of liberals attacking the boy scouts though, its a pattern.

  • paulhatfield

    Sonny's Bar-b-que in Tifton, GA has taken the franchise from its operator (Bill Davis) because of his allowing Christian slogans on his employee's t-shirts.