Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homeless used to save hearing seats for Union Bosses

Link HT: Intercepts
At first, I didn’t think my Education Sector colleagues and I were going to get into Arne Duncan’s Senate confirmation hearing yesterday. Arriving at 8:00 for the 10:00 event, we were surprised to find a line of 50 people already camped out in the hallway. They were a pretty disheveled crew, and they weren’t exactly jazzed about the Duncan event. A couple were dozing off. But as 10:00 approached and the line grew to several hundred people, these early birds at the front began to disappear, replaced by well-heeled lobbyists for major education organizations, including a half dozen from the National Education Association. It turns out that the organizations hired a company to have homeless people arrive at 4 am to hold places in line for them (a thriving business on Capitol Hill, I discovered). At a rate of what one of the company’s representatives said was $30 an hour, the NEA spent over $1,000 to get its team in the room. The homeless seat-savers, of course, only saw a fraction of the fees. Perhaps they should unionize.