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

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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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