April 28, 2010 8:57AM

All Shook Down

Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute writes in the Wall Street Journal about Andy Stern’s retirement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He noted that Stern’s

principal legacy will be having headed up a union that managed to add 1.2 million members during a time when overall unionization rates continued to plunge in the U.S.

But it’s important to understand how Mr. Stern pulled this off, because his union’s story is really the story of the transformation of the labor movement in America. The SEIU did not win its most significant victories on the picket lines, but rather in backroom political deals with legislative leaders, especially in states like California where the political class is already union‐​friendly.

Those deals helped the SEIU to organize workplaces that are nominally considered part of the private sector but actually are heavily controlled and influenced by government regulation, most especially in health care.

The article mentions Malanga’s forthcoming book, Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer.

Which is not to be confused with Shakedown: How Corporations, Government, and Trial Lawyers Abuse the Judicial Process, published by Cato Institute chairman Robert A. Levy in 2004. Then again, there probably are some points of overlap.