Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bodie on Unions and Private Equity Firms

Bodie Matt Bodie (St. Louis University) has just posted on SSRN his recent article,"Mother Jones Meets Gordon Gekko: The Complicated Relationship between Labor and Private Equity," which will be published in the Colorado Law Review.  The abstract: 

In 2007 private equity firms came under increasing scrutiny for the favorable tax treatment accorded to their fund managers' compensation. Labor, particularly the Service Workers International Union (SEIU), was instrumental in bringing this issue to the attention of the media and the public. However, SEIU's private equity campaign is just one way in which the union is pursuing its primary concern: increasing the ranks of its members. This Article examines the role that the SEIU private equity campaign plays both in the overall debate about private equity taxation as well as the union's negotiations with private equity firms. It argues that SEIU is using the campaign not only to promote changes in public policy, but also to pressure private equity firms to work with the union on issues such as card-check agreements. Unions, like other businesses, should be free to pursue their political agendas - agendas that serve their interests as a business. Efforts to restrict union political activity are based on an outdated vision of union representation and would cause (if enacted) further distortions to the market for political influence.

I saw Matt present this paper at last year's Annual Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor and Employment Law and it was really interesting.  Check it out.

Also, Matt notes that today is the SEIU's Take Back the Economy Day, which is a call for public support of the legislation referred to in Matt's paper.


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