Policy: Labor

Obama appointees giving Big Labor big headaches

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While President Obama and Big Labor are generally very close, the chief executive can be quite dismissive of them at times too. The latest example is a pair of administration appointments that have some union leaders steaming.

In an article Friday, Salon.com noted that one of the first judicial appointments the White House pushed through after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., acted to restrict use of the filibuster was D.C. Circuit Court nominee Patricia Ann Millett. In private practice, Millett had advised Starbucks in its efforts to prevent unionization of the company.

The story quotes Daniel Gross, a founding member of the Starbucks Workers Union, as finding the nomination "troubling." It seems Millett's strategy was very successful — Gross labeled it a "scorched earth" campaign — and is apparently still being used by the coffee store chain.

A Saturday story by Mother Jones highlighted the appointment of Ofelia Casillas, who is now the Labor Department's director of public outreach. As recently as August, she was a top spokeswoman for McDonald's, which is currently fighting a campaign by Big Labor-backed groups to hike its employees' wages.

The liberal magazine quotes an unnamed anti-McDonald's activist: "If she's a gatekeeper for who [the Labor Department] is meeting with, that's a problem."

For more on the Obama administration's tighter-than-you-may-think relationship with Big Business, read the Washington Examiner's own Tim Carney.

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