Former SEIU President Andy Stern joins Board of Bio-Warfare Pharma

by Mike Wilzoch on June 22, 2010

A June 21 press release from SIGA Technologies, Inc., “a company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical agents to combat bio-warfare pathogens,” announced that Andy Stern, “labor leader and prominent advocate for reform” has joined their Board of Directors. Now why would Big Pharma, and especially one focused on bio-warfare, be interested in the just resigned President of SEIU, only the largest Union in the US, and an erstwhile left leaning leader of the masses? SIGA’s CEO Dr. Eric Rose gets right to the point: “His insight, experience, and leadership, particularly his understanding of how our federal government works, will complement the skill sets of our existing board members.”

It goes on to say that Stern has been cited in numerous publications as being one of the most influential leaders on healthcare, as a frequent White House visitor, and that he was “named a Presidential appointee to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.” It’s 6 to 5 and pick ‘em if Big O put him in that job to get Andy Boy off his back after being stalked for all those months.

Or maybe it’s that Stern and his gang became experts on deficits by blowing nearly $100 million of the members’ dues on raiding other unions, destabilizing labor and progressive movements, and declaring war on their own members and democracy in SEIU. When tens of thousands of those pesky workers just wouldn’t stay in line with the “leaders” appointed over them or the deals cut with their bosses—no expense or tactics reminiscent of the Frankie Fitz Teamsters has been spared in trying to block or rig elections, trustee and even sue dissidents, and otherwise speed the racing model Union they inherited over the high side, taking hopes for labor law reform and real progress on our concerns in DC with them.

Enter now from stage right (or whatever side of the stage is served by his interests de jour) the former boy wonder of labor, who reveals the financial as well as egocentric utility of setting that White House visit record while his day job was becoming less jolly by the hour.

How exactly can Stern be of use to the corporate elite he publicly scorned while courting their largesse? Perhaps SIGA’s May 4 Press Release: “Operating Results for the First Quarter of 2010” is most instructive. Not so much that they reported a loss per share, but the statements that followed in compliance with federal legislation to provide potential shareholders management’s “estimates, assumptions, and projections” for the future show just where a moral eunuch like Stern can do some more damage.

There are, of course, the peripheral concerns for any master of the universe types that “the risk that potential products cannot be shown to be safe in clinical trials.” While that might be a temporary bummer, the larger issues for today’s heady bio-warfare exec on the go is the knowledge that larger profits can only follow ever larger amounts of grease being injected into the body politic by larger numbers of juiced in characters with ever larger flexibility in their moral constitutions.

To wit: “the risk that SIGA or its collaborators will not obtain appropriate or necessary governmental approvals to market potential products, the risk that SIGA may not be able to secure funding from anticipated government contracts and grants, the risk that regulatory requirements applicable to SIGA’s products may result in the need for further … testing … that will delay or prevent seeking or obtaining needed approvals to market these products, the effect of federal, state, and foreign regulation on SIGA’s businesses.

Ah, there’s the nut. Not bad enough to cause painful damage to workers who are still paying for his fat compensation package, and too many others who took risks and made sacrifices only to see their organizing or contract campaigns damaged or smashed entirely.

All the while, he’s building his own golden parachute from the burning wreckage he left, polishing up his WH insider portfolio — and then peddling his ass to fat cats and high hats everywhere who must enjoy having a pet labor leader who does tricks upon command — all for the same bastards who are actively destroying the American dream for the working stiffs and huddled masses this punk once claimed to speak for.

Mike Wilzoch began nearly 40 years of labor and community organizing with the United Farm Workers in 1973. He is a 23 year veteran of SEIU in Colorado and California, beginning with the inaugural Justice for Janitors campaign in Denver in ’86, later becoming President of the Local, serving at the invitation of Andy Stern on the President’s Committee 2000, until later purged in 2009 during the trusteeship of Local UHW-West. He is currently unemployed.

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