President Barack Obama may have crossed labor unions yet again this week when he named former budget director Jack Lew to be his fourth chief of staff in just three years.
News broke last week that Obama had deployed the Coast Guard to protect grain ships from longshoremen union members and occupiers in Washington State, but now a more politically perilous anti-union revelation is surfacing: his new chief of staff has led at least one effort to bust a labor union. And Lew succeeded in destroying it.
Lew (left, with Obama) worked for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, first as an assistant to the president before moving to the Office of Management and Budget. Lew quickly rose through the ranks at OMB to become its director for the last few years of Clinton’s presidency.
Lew also worked for the Obama administration in various roles and became Obama’s OMB director, before the president named him as the replacement for Bill Daley as White House chief of staff.
Between Lew’s service in the Clinton and Obama administrations, he was executive vice president for operations at New York University, where he was also a professor.
In 2004 Lew informed NYU’s full-time faculty that they were expected to continue working even though adjunct faculty members were planning a strike. The next year, while NYU’s graduate student union was planning a strike, Lew informed the campus he would have nothing of it.
NYU had previously officially recognized the graduate student labor union — a local chapter of the United Auto Workers. But, as Americans for Limited Government Communications Director Rick Manning points out in a column for The Hill, NYU decided to stop recognizing the union after the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision saying it no longer had to.