'Glenn Beck:' Shocking History of Unions in America

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," June 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Let me make it very clear: it's not union members who are bad. Union members, please hear this clearly. The union bosses from the beginning, however, had agenda far different than the typical American blue collar union worker. Union workers, you are not racists, revolutionaries, or communists. Maybe some are, but, you know what, some non-union members are as well.

But your dues and your fees and your willingness not to recognize who your unions have been from the beginning are empowering communists, racists and those who will be responsible for destroying our country and then monopolizing — coming in and using those events to gain even more power. You've been given a history full of half-truths, kernels of truth, or out and out lies. You must restore history to understand the future.

The racism of labor unions, I want you to — don't take anything that I say as fact. Don't take my word for it. Do your own homework. It's all there.

Some of the stuff we're going to show you tonight, we got from the union Web site.

I believe in the American worker. But the labor unions keep their worker quiet by giving them insane pensions and everybody, it's normal, you go — ahhh. There is an uncomfortable history but because of this uncomfortable history, it becomes an uncomfortable future in times of trouble. The people at the top have not changed.

Let me take you back to this. I'd love to show you video but I can't. It is the panic of 1873. A European depression hit American shores, a major U.S. investment bank failed. Credit dried up, foreclosure increased, banks failed as economic depression swept across the country. The banking house, Jay Cooke & Company, the major backer of the Northern Pacific Railroad, failed.

So, factories closed. Thousands of workers lost their job. Unemployment grew — so did antagonism between labor and business leaders.

Flash forward now to 1877, this is in San Francisco. Unemployment in the city hovered around 20 percent. See if you think any of these possibilities could happen in the future. Discontent among jobless grew, as did support of labor movement. It was associated with the Marxists International Association of Workingmen. Thousands of disgruntled workers gathered in their sand lot near city hall where they denounced capitalists, the newly rich and the favorite scapegoat, the Chinese workers.

In July, striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh did this. This one was in Baltimore. This one was in Chicago. This one was in West Virginia.

They clashed with militia. And deadly results all across the country.

In San Francisco, a meeting was held in support of those striking workers. Here it is: California Workingman's Party was born in racism because they found their success in the slogan "The Chinese Must Go."

Labor leader Dennis Kearney incited anti-Chinese sentiment and hit on workers' anxiety, saying, quote, "We intend to try and vote the Chinaman out, to frighten him out. And if this won't do it, to kill him out. The heathen slaves must leave this coast."

The unions had shown their racist bent before. One of the first union labels, remember I said — look for the union label — here is one of the first ones. This is — this one is for cigars. The cigar was made by white men. This proclamation spelled it out.

The labor — the labor wanted the Chinese out and they were successful — thanks to the efforts of the Labor Party. 1880, California banned the importation and use of Chinese labor. Congress did the same thing with the Exclusion Act of 1882, stopping all Chinese immigration for 10 years. But it was renewed and modified so many times; the policy actually remained in place until 1943 and was not completely dropped until the 1960s.

When they weren't racist, how about — how about when they were just threatening?

Do you remember when I showed you this a few weeks ago? This is SEIU — SEIU protesters on the lawn of a Bank of America employee. He was not there. But his teenage son was home and terrified.

Let me take you back again to San Francisco and 1877, his guy. OK? Remember this? 1877. This is the same scene except it's in picture form, because they didn't have video camera.

Labor leader Dennis Kearney and his cronies, they went to the wealthy neighborhoods in San Francisco and told at least one meeting, quote, "A little judicious hanging right now, here and now, would be the best course to pursue with the capitalist and the stock sharps who are all threatening time — the time to rob us." Yet at another meeting, he warned the railroad owners to fire all Chinese laborers. "Remember Judge Lynch."

That's the labor union. It's the same thing. History repeats itself, unless you understand history and you stop it.

More in a second.



BECK: Labor unions have had a long and storied history. And I showed you this — I showed you this from a cigar label — cigar union, "Whites only." They'll have you believe that the unions are about the little guy and always have been the poor or the minority.

And interestingly, these American unions aren't even necessarily about being American anymore. They're for the little guys now all over the world. Legal, illegal — it doesn't matter. This is SEIU's Eliseo Medina. Here's what he said.


ELISEO MEDINA, PRESIDENT, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION: In our membership are Eastern Europeans, Irish, Polish, Indians, Chinese — the whole world is represented among the undocumented and also in our membership. We also represent the American-born workers, legal residents.


BECK: OK. Remember, he is using race here. Remember, the cigar made by whites only. The labor unions thought that that was the best way to drive up membership, to appeal to whites and make Asians and the blacks the enemies.

So now, who do they have to pin the blame on the problems that we have now? Well, I don't know. Could it be you? Here's another clip of union leadership, this one from SEIU executive V.P., Gerry Hudson. Here, he is pitting black union members against their white union members face- to-face. Here he is.


GERRY HUDSON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION: I think we've got some real problems. I spent a lot of time in Wisconsin and places like that where I have heard some of the most anti-immigrant sentiments around.

It's also — and this is where you get the black workers first. It's so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) rabidly racist, until black people get scared, right? You know, they don't just mean you, right? And so you can organize them quicker. It's like, look at what's there.


BECK: Got it? So they can use the Hispanic, the plight of the undocumented alien, the illegal American — or illegal alien. And they can use that to organize the blacks. It's a different kind of racist but it's still a racist.

So where does all of this come from? Again, let me give you the history. For most of the first century, American unions promoted affirmative action, except it was for white workers. Trade unions were for job monopolies and most often white job monopolies.

California unions, for example, led the campaign against the Chinese immigrants' labor. The label of "look for the union label" — that campaign helped enable consumers to boycott products made by the Chinese workers.

Let me go back to this slogan. I remember this as a kid, you know, growing up. Watch.


BECK: Again, that came from "Look for the union label." You will know the Chinese didn't make them. That's what — that was the root of this. Then, of course, the cigar cases — I don't know if you can even see this. The cigar cases. Look at this.

Here's people kicking the Chinaman out. Here's a cigar beating the Chinese cigar. I mean, these boxes say, "The cigars contained within are made by white men." That was the original union label.

As for east coast immigrant labor, the celebrated socialist leader Eugene V. Debs once complained, "The Dago works for small pay and lives far more like a savage or wild beast than the Chinese," end quote.

Beautiful. I'm sure he meant that with love and respect. Above all, unions made it difficult for blacks to earn a living. The first large union federation, the National Labor Union, set the pattern of exclusion and evasion.

Although it was broadly known that national and local unions excluded blacks either by their Constitutions or just in formal custom, the federation claimed that since the Constitution made no reference to the race issue, we didn't have to deal with it.

Unions, fighting for the little guy, fighting for minorities and equality. Since when? Eliseo Medina shed some light on what is really going on, all about the union leadership.


MEDINA: If we are to expand this electorate to win, the progressive community needs to solidly be on the side of immigrants, that we'll solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future. And let me tell you, when you are in the middle of a fight for your life you will remember who was there with you.


BECK: You got it? The progressives. This is a union member saying what the political strategy should be. You just be with the immigrants. It's about power, gaining and keeping power, but this time on a global scale. They have been dividing and conquering.

And I know the unions will go crazy with this. We'll show you the evidence. They have been dividing and conquering forever. Well, now, who's going to be divided and conquered?

This "little guy" scam has been going on for years now because just as with racist history of many politicians in Washington, most Americans have forgotten their history and that's why we are here now.

We have more on the history union racism, and tomorrow, the history on American communism. It's a DVR show that you must have. Keep it for your children. You must do your own homework on this.

And one more thought — that's on tomorrow's show. One more thought — I just got the "New York Times" list and "The Overton Window" is the number one "New York Times" bestseller in America. I thank you for — I thank you for that.

I thank you so much for reading and caring about what we do on this program. I hope I haven't let you down. And if you haven't read it, read it. We worked hard on it. I think you will enjoy it. A thriller on what could possibly be coming our way. Open your mind just a little bit and pass it on to your friend. "The Overton Window" available in bookstores everywhere.

Learn more about "The Overton Window" at GlennBeck.com

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