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Ironic: Unions Emulating 'Predatory' Bankers by Offering Their Own High-Interest Credit Cards to Members


"When the banks do it, it’s called Wall Street greed at its worst.  When Big Labor does it, it’s simply working the union way."

(Photo: SEIU)

With major unions like SEIU and AFL-CIO spending millions of dollars on political activism, particularly on the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, union bosses have gotten creative in finding ways to raise extra cash.

In one of the more ironic union stories to hit the news-- and that includes a "war on women" sympathizer and union leader bashing a pinata of Gov. Nikki Haley-- unions are now successfully hawking the same types of credit cards and lending schemes they deem "predatory" and "greedy" when offered by Wall Street bankers.

Peter Schweizer, author of "Throw Them All Out," explains in a guest post at Business Insider:

Big unions are morphing into the kinds of big businesses and banks they decry, hawking to their members everything from high interest credit cards to home loans.

And contrary to Big Labor’s claims, these products offer no real benefit to union members—only to the union bosses.


Consider, for example, the “SEIU New Rewards Visa Card” and the AFL-CIO “Union Plus” card.  With each new enrollment and subsequent swipe of the card, the union bags a fee and a percentage respectively.

This turns into huge money:  In FY2011, according to its LM-2 filing with the Department of Labor, the AFL-CIO received approximately $28,163,266.00 from credit card revenue.

Given the labor movement’s high-wattage rhetoric against the big banks, issuing credit cards to union members seems like an odd revenue source for Big Labor to pursue.

By the way, the Occupy movement (which the unions support) have been filled with calls to cancel debt, especially student debt.

The article continues:

Both the AFL-CIO and SEIU try to give their members the impression that their cards are superior to others on the market, but they’re not.  The SEIU, for example, offers an introductory rate of 12.24% APR to 22.24%, which is consistent with the industry standards the union have labeled “predatory.”  The SEIU card boasts that it doesn’t charge a late fee.  But union members should read the fine print; if they miss a payment, their rate skyrockets to 27.99%.


Beyond the irony and hypocrisy of labor unions being transformed into financial services providers, this new reality creates a massive conflict of interest for union bosses.

By fostering the illusion that union-backed financial products are somehow better and less “predatory” than non-union products, Big Labor is making big bucks.  But when union bosses become the middleman, their interests become boosting revenues from banks and credit card companies, not brokering a better deal for union members.

"When the banks do it, it’s called Wall Street greed at its worst," the article concludes.  "When the Big Labor does it, it’s simply working the union way."

Read the rest over at Business Insider.

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