Did the Beijing-friendly Andy Stern, head of the low wage immigrant workers based union SEIU, green light the Obama Administration’s new “constructive engagement” policy with China?
Stern has been a frequent visitor to China in recent years advocating closer ties between the Chinese Communists’ state controlled labor organization, the ACFTU, and the US trade union movement. Stern has ignored or patronized independent labor activists in Hong Kong during these visits. Perhaps the only seat of government Stern has visited more often than that of Beijing is the Obama White House.
Stern’s overtures to the Chinese may have led the White House to believe that organized labor would not complain if human rights and labor rights took a back seat in the US-China relationship. Sadly, that calculus appears to have been correct as labor’s voice on China has been nearly silent in recent months.
No wonder the Nobel Peace Prize winning Dalai Lama was told by the White House’s Valerie Jarrett to stay home until Obama had time to check in with his new partners in Beijing next month.
See my debate with China-friendly labor intellectuals here.