'Fat Cat' Union Boss Ousted After 'Napping' Photo Leaked

Mark Rosenthal napping at his desk.Mark Rosenthal's 15-year tenure as the head of one of New York City's largest unions came to an end Wednesday, after photos leaked of the 400-pound boss purportedly slumbering through his workday.

At the end of May, The York Post put one of the unflattering portraits of an apparently sleeping Rosenthal on its cover, along with a damning description of Rosenthal's daily routine (into the office at 2 p.m., followed by lunch and a nap, then out at 4 p.m.) and eating habits (monthly food bills of $1,400, charged to the union coffers). All the while, Rosenthal was taking home $156,000-a-year, from dues paid by some of the city's poorest laborers.

Rosenthal, now the former president of Local 983 of District Council 37, which represents 3,000 municipal workers, countered that he worked 12-to-14-hour days, and that his back-pain medication made him a little drowsy. "I'm 60 years old, so if I eat during my lunch hour and take a little medication, can't I close my eyes?" he told The Post. "Is it so outrageous?"

He also claimed that the Post's sources were participants in a smear campaign against him that was designed to help one of the union's vice presidents, Joseph Puleo, win Wednesday's vote.

More: Unions' Secret Strategy To Win Back Workers

And Puleo did, in a landslide, with Puleo's supporters showing the Post's knack for puns with lines like "The fat cat has been sleeping, and we're going to wake him up today."

With a napping Rosenthal seeming to be the embodiment of negative union-boss stereotypes, conservative rabble-rouser Glenn Beck remarked that "when union workers are fed up with it, something's very wrong."

But lucky for him, Rosenthal apparently has a fairly thick skin. During his speedy ascent from obscure Parks Department truck driver to union boss in the late 1990s, many claimed that they'd "break his legs" because of his outspoken criticism of union waste and corruption. Rosenthal even got his predecessor to pay back $400,000 in excessive expenses.

More: The Real Reason Unions Are Dying

The Baruch College dropout, who was with the Parks Department for 27 years before taking the union's reins, is also often the butt of a joke because of his weight. When Rosenthal was rushed to a hospital after suffering a stroke in 2003, he was too wide for a stretcher, so had to ride on the ambulance floor and ended up injuring his back and struggling to breathe. He also was too large to fit in the MRI scanner -- or the hospital's bedpans, so was told to eliminate body waste in his bed, on himself.

In response, the City Council introduced a bill to ensure that there were ambulances on the road that could transport the morbidly obese -- "Putting the Big in The Big Apple," sneered the blog Gawker.



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797 Comments

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greasemonkey

If that really was what his typical workday consisted of,than it really is pathetic. You probably would never see that in a private company.

June 14 2013 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to greasemonkey's comment
john Martin

You would never see that in a private company because it is PRIVATE. They can nap whenever they want. And who naps on the job? I haven't had a nap since I was 4.

June 15 2013 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
polkee

When you look at the picture of this guy think about all the American jobs that went overseas
because of the unions. It's very doubtful he's an anomaly. In fact he could be the poster child
for a synopsis of America.

June 13 2013 at 6:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to polkee's comment
john Martin

Jobs didn't go overseas because of Unions. They went there because people like Mitt Romney thought jailing a bunch of people in a slave camp making a dollar a day was cute. Are you crazy?

June 15 2013 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to john Martin's comment
oftenimit8ed

No idiot, jobs went overseas because American business couldn't afford to pay fat, lazy, uneducated, unskilled union workers $100,000 per year for their "talents".

Morons like you want union and government controlled EVERYTHING...you are whats wrong with this country.

June 16 2013 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Richard

I hope nobody is shocked by this individuals actions. It has been going on for decades If you calculate the real number of people in this country that actually work and produce something for their wage versus all of the leaches that just collect pat checks and do nothing productive, the real working class supports a hell of a lot of people. It's a shame. Just think if we import 300 million to work productive jobs, the ratio won't look so bad.

June 11 2013 at 12:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
allisonisa39e

Nice of the union workers to contribute their wages to the union boss.
Unions make people pay dues even if the workers make minimum wage.

Union dues are there so union execs can get high salaries and can donate to the politicians of THEIR choice.

June 11 2013 at 1:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to allisonisa39e's comment
ericwrites

as a former unwilling union worker I agree fully with Allisons take on union bosses. when over a thousand workers were unemployed in the late nineteen sixties in Boston, the leadership had a vote taken to increase dues, and institute a new program named, 'dues checkoff' It was designed to keep the coffers full to keep from having to reduce the size of useless officials or reduce their paychecks. It left those fortunate enough to still hold jobs paying out more each hour. At first it was just five cents and hour. Over time it had increase after increase. I wonder if the system is still in place and union rank and file are still being ripped off by crooked so called leaders. I left in dismay and lost nearly eight years of paid for benefits.
I do see the need for a union to protect working men and women, I do not see the need for swelled payrolls and trappings of wealth and power for elected union or any official in any position, political or othwerwise.

June 11 2013 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
john Martin

Propoganda. Without Unions, you wouldn't be making the salary YOU are making. Your children would be working for a dollar a day like Chinese children. I am amazed at the propoganda created by the oligarchy who wants cheap labor and doesn't want any pesky interference from workers.

June 15 2013 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Owen

unions are tottaly useless and are a ruiining this country, similar, to the current admiistration

June 10 2013 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Owen's comment
john Martin

RUBISH. Unions are down to 11% of our country. When they were at 80%, Americans had a decent wage and there was a vibrant middle class. Now corporations can just fire everybody and take the jobs overseas and get a TAX CUT FOR DOING IT. They also spend millions convincing people that Unions are bad and workers should be used as slaves to make corporate masters happy. We used to have a good education system. Now we are left with people who spell like Owen, "admiistration" and "ruiining." How can the uneducated compete with China?

June 15 2013 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobby

Unions are blight on this country and need to be eliminated

June 10 2013 at 7:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bobby's comment
ohioh111b111y

i love unions.... the police unions, the teachers unions.... do we BEGRUDGE THEM their wages?

June 10 2013 at 10:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
john Martin

NO, the uneducated "are blight on this country."

June 15 2013 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nancy

The problem is that not everyone has a union. Wthout unions people have no say in how they are treated by employers and are low paid slaves working to make the rich more money.

June 10 2013 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
BULLFROG62

HE IS THE WALRUS

June 10 2013 at 5:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
blackcoffeeparty

This is a sad commentary on the state of the unions in America today. There was a time when union bosses would be out taking care of the rank and file. I am a liberal from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

June 10 2013 at 3:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to blackcoffeeparty's comment
john Martin

They still are out taking care of the rank and file. One fat, lazy Union boss doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Come on.

June 15 2013 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
c.mertz

He could always apply for a role in the up and coming Broadway play of Star Wars. How would make an excellent understudy as Jabba the Hutt.

June 10 2013 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to c.mertz's comment
balticstein

he does remind me of Jabba

June 11 2013 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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