George Pataki And SEIU- A Love Story
It looks like George Pataki is going to run for the GOP presidential nomination.
I’ll pause for a second while you either a-Stop laughing or b-Ask, “Who is George Pataki?”
For the folks in Category B, Pataki is the former Governor of New York who a long, long time ago rid the state of the decaying Cuomo administration. For that I, as a life long New Yorker, will always be grateful.
At the time, he was a little known state Senator who was remarkably conservative (if you grade on a curve, this is New York after all). By the end of his time in office however, Pataki had morphed into a rather liberal figure who had destroyed what he, along with his guru Bill Powers, had built the NY GOP into.
The crowning “accomplishment” of this transformation was a deal he cut with the powerful Local 1199 of SEIU prior to his last bid for reelection in 2002. The union got $1.8 BILLION in raises, Pataki got their endorsement and an army of “volunteer” workers, and of course the taxpayers of NY got…stuck with the bill.
Why did SEIU do something so out of character as to endorse a Republican? Here’s then union President Dennis Rivera in his own words.
The tremendous gains in our recent League contract, still fresh in the minds of most of us, could never have happened without $1.8 billion in state funding made possible by Gov. Pataki and other Albany leaders.
But that triumph for the people of this state was just the latest in a long series o f moves George Pataki has made to protect health care and health care workers.
George Pataki supported Child Health Plus, a measure that provides health care coverage to 540,000 previously uninsured low-income children.
George Pataki worked for Family Health Plus, which gives 700,000 uninsured New York adults access to quality health care.
George Pataki provided hundreds of millions of dollars for health care training and upgrading programs, including the CUNY/1199SEIU Nurse and Healthcare Employee Training Center in the Bronx.
George Pataki backed such additional health care measures as affordable access to prescription drugs for seniors and Medicaid expansion to cover the working disabled and low-income women with breast or cervical cancer.
George Pataki has supported worker protection laws that include safe needles, whistle-blower protection from retaliation for workers who report on unsafe conditions, and card-check and neutrality for employers using the State Employment Relations Board.
Appearing March 18 before our 94-member Executive Council, which voted unanimously to endorse him, Pataki expressed pride that New York was the first state to pass card check union recognition, which protects workers from the management intimidation or coercion that too often accompanies union election campaigns.
Pataki might disavow his liberal past and his marriage to SEIU to the few interested and willing to listen but New Yorkers know you have to ignore what Pataki says and focus on what he actually does.
There’s plenty more, good and bad, that can be said about Pataki for President but he’s really not worth the effort.
Now if good old George wants to run for the Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, that would be worth talking about. Yes, he’d be an annoying RINO but in a Senate with a Republican majority the mischief he could do would be limited. Plus stealing a seat in a deep blue state like NY would be worth the occasional headache. Alas, Pataki’s delusions of grandeur seem to preclude that possibility.