If you want to test a union leader's commitment to the labor movement, watch what happens when members of the union's staff attempt to form a union and the union itself becomes management.
In 2010, unions were still holding out hope that the Employee Free Choice Act wasn't entirely dead in the water. That act would have required employers to accept a union as their workforce's bargaining agent if the union could produce signed cards from a majority of a company's employees. The card-check method would bypass the normal election process -- the idea being that workers could avoid the frequent employer intimidation that comes with a union drive. Management groups objected, saying that absent elections, workers would be intimidated into joining unions.
That's the larger issue. Here's what happened at 1199C when the union's own organizers organized themselves into a union and presented union president Henry Nicholas with the appropriate number of signed cards. Nicholas, who counts Martin Luther King Jr. as a friend, and who has a long history with the civil rights movement and the labor movement, turned them down.
Leading the drive was John Hundzynski, an 1199C organizer. Nicholas said that before Hundzynski presented the cards, he had already asked for an election. "I'm not going to campaign against him," Nicholas said at the time. "If he wins, I'm ready to bargain expeditiously."