Union Gangsters: Ron Bloom
By Matthew Vadum
Sometimes union thugs wear pinstriped business suits.
Investment banker Ron Bloom is one of those thugs.
He decided in the 1970s to devote his life to helping labor unions stick it to America’s corporations. As an organizer, negotiator, and researcher for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Booth observed that many union negotiators didn’t have the skills they needed to bargain effectively with management.
“Unions were being backed into corners by companies and couldn’t understand on a sophisticated level, the company’s arguments … Labor needed to be armed with the equivalent skills.”
A longtime leftist, Bloom acquired the skills he needed to run circles around management. He went to Harvard Business School and built up his resume.
Bloom, who was President Obama’s car czar and then manufacturing czar, excels at wheeling and dealing. Last year Time magazine fawned over Bloom, naming him as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Bloom’s “role in brokering the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler while preserving more than 100,000 jobs demanded a synergist who could work both sides of the equation with authority and respect.”
Although it is true that Bloom was one of the principal architects of the auto industry bailout, Time failed to mention that he made certain that the deal enriched the United Auto Workers at the expense of bondholders. Bondholders accept low rates of return on their investment in the expectation that if the company goes belly-up they will be among the first creditors paid back, but Bloom and his colleagues in the Obama administration upended that ancient rule of repayment priority in the name of so-called “social justice.” They made sure that President Obama’s allies in the labor movement got far more than their fair share.
In his career as an investment banker, Bloom has used his considerable skills as a negotiator to engineer deals that benefit trade unions.
For example, when Brazilian steel company Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) tried to merge with Wheeling-Pittsburgh Corp. in 2006, steelworkers feared the deal would decimate their ranks. Bloom, who joined the United Steel Workers (USW) union as a special assistant to the president in the 1990s, put together a hostile takeover bid by Chicago-based steel distributor Esmark to fend off CSN.
But like another pinstriped socialist, financier and radical philanthropist George Soros, Bloom believes that markets exist to be gamed by the powerful – including unions.
At a 2008 “distressed investors” forum, Bloom said:
Generally speaking, we get the joke. We know that the free market is nonsense. We know that the whole point is to game the system, to beat the market. Or at least find someone who will pay you a lot of money, ’cause they’re convinced that there is a free lunch. We know this is largely about power, that it’s an adults-only, no-limit game. We kind of agree with Mao, that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.Of course, Bloom isn’t the only Obama administration figure to quote Mao Zedong, who enjoyed silencing his opposition by a bullet to the head. Van Jones was part of a Maoist revolutionary group before he became President Obama’s green jobs czar. Anita Dunn, who was White House communications director, praised Mao by calling him “one of the two people that I turn to most.”
Bloom was also reportedly instrumental in the administration’s push to double fuel-economy standards for automakers to 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025. The regulation will almost certainly increase car-related deaths because automakers typically try to meet fuel efficiency targets by making smaller, lighter cars that are less capable of withstanding collisions.
Now the National Association of Letter Carriers has hired Bloom, who left the White House a few months ago, to devise a strategy to fleece the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service.
“We have retained [investment banking firm] Lazard and Ron Bloom to make sure we explore and expand the various range of solutions to address the postal service’s fiscal crisis as well as long-range business strategies not being pursued right now,” said Fredric V. Rolando, the national president of the union. “They have experience in analyzing large, financially complex institutions and crafting creative solutions.”
If by creative Rolando means anti-business, he’s absolutely right.