Showing posts with label labor unions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label labor unions. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Van Hollen Gets Important Backing From SEIU // One Union Says Edwards "Has Turned Her Back Toward Labor"

Today, at an announcement at in Baltimore, Representative Chris Van Hollen will accept the endorsement Maryland’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals, including 1199, 32BJ, Local 500, Local 400, NAGE and Local 722. This is the biggest endorsement to date for Van Hollen and a body blow to Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who many originally expected to win the strong backing from organized labor.
: Van Hollen "has a record of standing with labor and workers," said Ricarra Jones, with 1199 SEIU. "We're going to go with a person who is going to best represent our interests in the Senate."
: We feel like she has turned her back toward labor,” said Ricarra Jones, political organizer for Local 1199, the largest SEIU chapter in Maryland, which has about 9,000 members. “We think that Van Hollen will do a much better job.”
PAINT THE STATE PURPLE: The Maryland SEIU locals represent nearly 45,000 members, and their endorsement ensures the Van Hollen campaign will receive significant union support, including member-volunteers who will knock on doors and make phone calls in Baltimore City and other key Democratic jurisdictions.

Relaxed campaign finance rules post Citizens United not only allows SEIU to spend more heavily on advertising but also to ramp up voter contact efforts to non-union workers. In 2012, SEIU was the top outside spending on Democratic campaigns - spending $70 million on donations, television ads and GOTV.

SEIU has increasingly played a very active role in many important elections and legislative battles through both member outreach and paid media efforts. In 2014, SEIU backed and invested heavily in Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and more than 80 other candidates in the Democratic primary. The vast majority of these endorsed candidates prevailed.

Nationally, the 2 million member SEIU - the fastest growing union in the United States - endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Notably, SEIU has supported and increased awareness of the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign, and has successfully persuaded local leaders in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

DISAPPOINTING FOR DONNA: Labor in the past has strongly supported Edwards, which likely makes today’s endorsement that much more painful. SEIU and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) strongly supported her bid to unseat Rep. Al Wynn in 2008 - spending more than $1 million on her successful campaign. Unions also circled the wagons and effectively scared Glenn Ivey into dropping a primary challenge in 2012.

Earlier this year observers thought Edwards had the inside track with labor, and would earn the financial and organizational resources to make up for Van Hollen’s fundraising edge. Instead, Van Hollen and Edwards have traded endorsements and the AFL-CIO declined to choose sides.

It is unlikely that any union that currently supports Edwards can match the resources SEIU can bring to bear. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Round-Up of New Endorsements in Maryland's Open-Seat US Senate & House Races: Less Than Six Months Until Primary Day

As we pass the sixth month mark until Maryland's April 26 primary, more endorsements were announced this week in the state's open seat US Senate race and in the open 4th and 8th District Congressional races. We previously published a round-up of all the endorsements in those races, but more have begun pouring in as the races take shape. Maryland Juice's Matt Verghese has a full round-up of updates below:

FIREFIGHTERS ENDORSE VAN HOLLEN FOR SENATE: The Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland - the state association for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) locals, which represents 10,000 current and retired professional fire fighters, unanimously endorsed Chris Van Hollen for United States Senate. Local affiliates in Baltimore, Prince George's and Montgomery Counties have also endorsed Van Hollen.
PFFM President Mike Rund: Congressman Van Hollen has shown that public safety is and will continue to be a top priority for him. The money that has been secured through federal grants wouldn’t have been possible without Chris’s help. It is for these reasons and many more that that we endorse Chris Van Hollen for United States Senate.
This continues the split in local labor endorsements between Van Hollen and Congresswoman Edwards.

OFFICE EMPLOYEE UNION ENDORSES RASKIN FOR CONGRESS: Office and Professional Employees International Local 2 (OPEIU Local 2), a member of the AFL-CIO, became the second labor union to endorse Senator Jamie Raskin in the 8th Congressional District race. OPEIU Local 2 represents 7,000 workers in the region.
OPEIU Local 2 President Dan Dyer: OPEIU Local 2 is excited to endorse Jamie Raskin, an unwavering supporter of Maryland's working families and the proven progressive leader we need in the 8th District. Senator Raskin’s exemplary record of success in Annapolis shows that he is willing to stare down the powerful interests and stand up for the rights and values of working men and women. Our union is proud to stand with Jamie so he can go to Washington and take on the big-money special interests that are trying to destroy the right to organize and to engage in collective bargaining. We know we have a true partner in Jamie Raskin and we are excited to do everything we can to support his campaign for Congress.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM SUPER-PAC ENDORSES RASKIN: Raskin was also endorsed by , a pro-campaign finance reform super PAC formed by Democratic Presidential hopeful and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, and House Judiciary Committee Vice Chair Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-15).

EMILY'S LIST COMES OUT FOR MATTHEWS: Kathleen Matthews earned the coveted support of EMILY's List. The well respected and well funded organization that backs pro-choice female candidates, could be one of the most important endorsements in the CD8. The organization's support often brings fundraising assistance, visibility and potentially staff and advertising support.
EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock: Kathleen Matthews is a lifelong advocate for women and families and a dynamic leader who will fight for progressive change in Congress. As a news anchor at WJLA-TV, she put a spotlight on issues affecting women and families – jobs, education, health care, and equality in the workplace – and as an executive, she spearheaded efforts to advance women's careers and women-owned businesses around the world. Maryland’s Eighth District has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress, and the EMILY’s List community is thrilled to endorse Kathleen Matthews: a pro-choice leader fighting for Planned Parenthood and deeply committed to helping Maryland working families get a fair shot.
EMILY's List previously endorsed Donna Edwards in the US Senate Race.

SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES PENA-MELYNK & RASKIN FOR CONGRESS: The Sierra Club announced its endorsement of Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk in Congressional District 4. The Maryland chapter previously announced its support of Jamie Raskin. No endorsement quote was provided, but the chapter's endorsement release is excerpted below:
Sierra Club: Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk has been a staunch supporter of environmental legislation and has worked well with the environmental community in the State Legislature where she represents State District 21. She has a lifetime score of 94% as reported by MD-LCV and she has proved herself to be a fierce fighter for our issues. We know she will be a great representative for District 4.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

JUICE: MCDCC Truce with Labor, Del. Sheila Hixson Kills Retirement Rumor, Brown Denies Snubbing MoCo Advocate

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news tidbits that may be of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: MOCO DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE & LABOR ACTIVISTS FORMING COMBINED SLATE FOR 2014 MCDCC ELECTIONS - Last May MoCo Democratic politicos ended up in a divisive debate over the MoCo police union's displeasure with "Question B," an effort to end "effects bargaining rights" for county law enforcement workers. Maryland Juice predicted we hadn't heard the last of that story, and this week . In the article below, Peck describes a new "unity" effort between members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) and labor activists. It appears that MoCo Young Dems, MCDCC members, and labor activists are attempting to form a slate of MCDCC candidates for the June 2014 Democratic Primary (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: The quadrennial election for Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) doesn’t usually attract much attention from Primary Day voters....  But the MCDCC found itself in an unwanted spotlight last May, when labor groups organized a boycott of the committee’s “Spring Ball” that kept a number of state and local Democratic officeholders away....

Now, with the filing deadline for committee slots just 10 weeks away, a peace initiative of sorts is underway involving MCDCC Chairman Gabriel Albornoz and representatives of several of the county’s leading labor groups.

Taking advantage of a larger than average turnover in the central committee next year –  due to retirements and several members seeking public office -- the apparent goal is to produce a unity slate of MCDCC candidates who are palatable to local labor groups, while representing something of a youth movement for the local party....

Albornoz is forming a screening panel—consisting of outgoing MCDCC members, along with a few party veterans—to interview applicants for the central committee, with an eye to producing a slate of candidates by mid-January. Two-thirds of the committee’s 24 seats are divided among the county’s eight state legislative district; the remaining members are chosen at-large.

Playing a major role in the effort is Dave Kunes, president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, who is himself planning to seek a seat on the MCDCC and has recruited as many as 10 colleagues in the Young Democrats to apply during the slating process....

JUICE #2: DELEGATE SHEILA HIXSON STAMPS DOWN RUMORS OF A RETIREMENT - Though Maryland Juice was unaware of this, apparently there have been recent rumors of a possible retirement from Delegate Sheila Hixson. But Hixson's campaign aide Michael Vaughan reached out to Maryland Juice to stamp out the unfounded rumors with the following statement for publication:
MICHAEL VAUGHAN: I have heard a couple of rumors in the last few days, no doubt created by the usual mischief makers, that Delegate Sheila Hixson is retiring.  Sorry, not true.

I assure you and whoever reads this, that Sheila Hixson is running a vigorous campaign for re election in District 20 in 2014. We are well advanced in our planning for the campaign and have already begun making contact with the new precincts in D 20 who may not be familiar with the impressive record of Delegate Hixson and her powerful position in Annapolis.

As you know, Sheila and Senator Jamie Raskin have created a formidable legislative team, representing Montgomery County and the progressive values of District 20 reinforced by Sheila's position as Chair of House Ways and Means committee. 

Sheila and Jamie announced that they were running together after they led a walk across District 20 concluding with a well attended BBQ  at the Takoma Park VFW on October 26th.  I know the political waters in District 20 are swirling at the moment and you have a personal interest in the race but I know definitely that Jamie and Sheila are running and will continue to represent the progressive values of District 20.

I cannot speak for Delegate Tom Hucker but as far as I know he is running for re election for District 20. Tom is more than capable of handling rumors about his future plans.

We will continue to keep you informed as we ramp up our campaign. If anyone wants to know the status of our campaign please call and ask!  As you can know, I talk to Sheila all the time and I will be happy to inform you of the facts.

JUICE #3: MOCO ADVOCATE DISMAYED BY ANTHONY BROWN EVENT CANCELLATION // BROWN SAYS HE'S ATTENDING - A Maryland Juice source forwarded us the following email from Barbara Henry, the head of , "a coalition of leaders representing a broad cross-section of Montgomery County business, labor, education, civic and community-based organizations. Our mission is to advocate in Annapolis on issues of importance to Montgomery County and the State. Through our membership, CfM represents more than 250,000 Montgomery County residents."

Committee for Montgomery is holding their annual breakfast this Monday, but today noted that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has pulled out of attending at the last minute. As a result, the organization's head sent the following email message to Montgomery County's Councilmembers, Senators and Delegates:
BARBARA HENRY: We were informed, yesterday evening, that Lt. Governor Brown would not be participating in Committee for Montgomery’s breakfast on Monday.

As you can imagine, we were quite surprised to hear this at the 11th hour, particularly because we have an email commitment from his staff dated November 19th.

What this says about the Lt. Governor’s relationship with and commitment to Montgomery County I will leave to you to decide.

Since November 19th, we have been promoting his (and the other 4 candidates’) participation in the event.  As a result, will have to explain to the 750 attendees (most of whom, as you know, are at the political heart of Montgomery County) and the reporters from the Washington Post, Center Maryland, WAMU, and WJLA the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown’s withdrawal.

If any of you have any influence whatsoever with Mr. Brown and his campaign, we would appreciate any influence you might bring to bear regarding a reconsideration of this decision.
The strangest part of this story, is that the Committee for Montgomery breakfast (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Sparks are already starting to fly in advance of a Maryland gubernatorial forum scheduled for Monday — over who plans to attend....

A widely distributed e-mail on Thursday, however, suggested that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) had just backed out — and that organizers weren’t happy....

Brown will, in fact, be at the breakfast, his campaign manager Justin Schall said in an interview shortly after Henry’s e-mail was sent. “We are planning to attend,” Schall said. “We’ve always been planning to attend. I’m not sure what she’s talking about.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

JUICE: AFSCME Endorses Frosh for AG, MCDCC's Charlotte Crutchfield Running for Arora's D19 Seat, Mizeur = Lefty MD?

Below Maryland Juice provides a few items that may be of interest to Free State politicos:

JUICE #1: CHARLOTTE CRUTCHFIELD TO RUN FOR DISTRICT 19 DELEGATE // MOCO DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER SEEKS TO REPLACE SAM ARORA - Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) member Charlotte Crutchfield confirmed to Maryland Juice that she is throwing her hat into the ring for District 19 House of Delegates. Crutchfield is running in the June 2014 Democratic Primary, now that D19 Delegate Sam Arora has announced he is retiring at the end of his term. states:
Charlotte Crutchfield
MCDCC: Charlotte Crutchfield was elected to MCDCC in 2010. She is the Liaison for District 19. Ms. Crutchfield serves on Rules Committee, Voter Protection Committee, Ballot Question Review Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. Ms. Crutchfield has served on the Executive Board for Women’s Suburban Democratic Club (Women’s Democratic Club and was a member of the District 19 Democratic Club, as well as the Hispanic Democratic Club and the African-American Democratic Club.
She served as Girl Scout leader, President of the Glenallan ES PTA, and the Board of Directors of Tivoli Home Owners Association. Ms. Crutchfield is a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association, N.A.A.C.P, and the Red Hat Society. She has served as Committee Chair for the Howard University Alumni Club of Montgomery County and is a supporter of Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Ms. Crutchfield is an attorney, having gotten her BA at Howard University and her JD at Boston College Law School. She has two children.
District 19 is currently represented by three Democratic Delegates: Sam Arora, Bonnie Cullison and Ben Kramer. Though Arora is retiring, Cullison and Kramer are both seeking re-election. In addition, two additional candidates have already announced for the D19 House of Delegates: and .

JUICE #2: SEN. BRIAN FROSH WINS ENDORSEMENTS OF AFSCME FOR JUNE 2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL RACE - Yesterday Maryland Juice received the following press release from State Senator Brian Frosh's Attorney General campaign announcing the endorsement of AFSCME at an event today:

AFSCME Council 3 to Endorse Democratic Candidate
Brian Frosh for Attorney General
Baltimore, MD- The AFSCME Council 3 will give their full support and endorsement to Democratic candidate, State Senator Brian Frosh, who is running to be the next Attorney General of Maryland.

WHO: AFSCME Council 3, representing 25,000 workers in the state of Maryland.

WHAT: AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran and AFSCME members will formally endorse State Senator Brian Frosh for Maryland Attorney General at a rally in Baltimore.

WHERE: AFSCME International Union Office
1410 Bush Street, 1st Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM


JUICE #3: BALTIMORE SUN SAYS HEATHER MIZEUR'S CAMPAIGN REFLECTS LEFTWARD SHIFT IN MARYLAND - A Maryland Juice reader pointed us in the direction of a fascinating piece from The Baltimore Sun's editorial board titled "." In the piece below, The Sun's ed board argues that Maryland voters are now ideological and more prone to support leftward politics than engage in regional battles (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: The conventional political wisdom about Del. Heather Mizeur's pick of the Rev. Delman Coates as her running mate is that it shows her campaign for governor is more about making a point than winning the Democratic primary.... But the more interesting question is not what the selection says about the Mizeur campaign than what the Mizeur campaign says about the state of Maryland politics....

The fact that Mr. Coates does not balance the ticket other than racially — de rigueur at this point in Maryland Democratic politics — could be read as a further sign that Ms. Mizeur is not doing what it takes to win. Like her, he is from the Washington suburbs, and like her, he is well to the liberal side of the spectrum.

But what that analysis misses is the extent to which we have shifted from a tribal to an ideological stage in our politics.... Now, though, it's less a matter of family and community tradition and more a question of political philosophy. To a great extent, machine politics has given way to people organizing through affinity groups on Facebook and Twitter that make old geographic boundaries irrelevant.

In the process, the character of Democratic politics has changed. Traditionally, the party's office holders were often moderate or even conservative on social and cultural issues. But the last four years saw a real shift to the left in Annapolis.... There's not much electoral room for a candidate to run to the right of the field in next year's Democratic primary — Comptroller Peter Franchot, an astute reader of the political landscape, kicked the tires on that proposition rather thoroughly and decided to stay put....
This is a provocative (but perhaps now obvious) take on the state of Maryland politics. But Maryland Juice has been trying to make this point for a couple years now!  At least some of our state's Democrats are beginning to act on these new opportunities. Indeed, progressive politics are the new normal in Maryland.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Doug Gansler Calls for Voluntary Ban Against Independent Ad Buys in Governor's Race as Brown Earns AFSCME Endorsement

Today Maryland Juice received an interesting set of press releases from the gubernatorial campaigns of Doug Gansler and Anthony Brown. Gansler is calling for gubernatorial candidates to voluntarily reject outside spending from organization's seeking to get involved in the race. This may be a response to a newly announced endorsement for Anthony Brown from the labor union AFSCME (see press release below). Notably, and noted:
BALTIMORE SUN: AFSCME's endorsement traditionally has brought with it both money and organizational muscle. "When we endorse, it's for real," [AFSCME spokesman Jeff Pittman] said. "It's everything we can throw at it."

You can read Gansler's press release below, followed by Brown's press release announcing the AFSCME endorsement:

Gansler-Ivey Campaign Invites Democratic Candidates for Governor to Pledge Against Third Party Funding

Silver Spring, MD -  Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Douglas Gansler and his running mate, Prince George's County Delegate Jolene Ivey, today are calling on all Democratic candidates for Governor of Maryland to join with them in a pledge to the people of Maryland. The “Candidates' Pledge” prohibits third party non-candidate entities or organizations from spending money on radio, cable, online advertising, and direct mail that names any of the candidates for governor.

This pledge is similar to one that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Scott Brown agreed to in the 2012 US Senate race in Massachusetts. Common Cause released a post-election analysis that concluded the pledge, signed by both candidates, was effective in keeping outside money out of the race.

Attorney General Gansler, who has a successful record fighting against voting irregularities, enforcing voter integrity laws, and supporting campaign finance reform, said today,  “We are now less than one year away from an important general election in Maryland and I believe that all of the candidates should support and sign the ‘Candidates' Pledge.’”  Gansler added, “It is easy to talk about reform, the test is – are you willing to do something to keep outside money out of Maryland. The Candidates Pledge is a chance to do just that.  It is a chance not to talk, but to act.”

Jolene Ivey added, “The only way for a pledge like this to work is for every candidate – Lt. Gov. Brown and Del. Heather Mizeur -- to sign up. All it takes is a ‘yes,’ and we can keep third party forces out of Maryland and let Marylanders decide who their next governor should be."


We the undersigned agree that if an independent or third party group spends any money on broadcast TV, Cable TV, Radio, Online, or Direct Mail advertisements supporting a candidate, that candidate, by signing this pledge, agrees to pay 50% of the cost of airing that advertisement to a charity of the other candidates mutually agreed upon choice.

This agreement requires the agreement of all three candidates running for governor in the Democratic Primary and applies only to the Primary campaign. The pledge is valid only if all three Democratic candidates sign the Candidates' Pledge.

Doug Gansler



Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman Endorsed by AFSCME Council 3

Representing 25,000 Maryland workers, AFSCME highlights Anthony Brown’s work to strengthen the middle-class

Baltimore, MD – Today, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman were formally endorsed by AFSCME Council 3 at a rally in Baltimore. At the event, AFSCME leaders recognized Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman’s records of delivering real results for Marylanders as well as their proposals to invest in our schools, protect collective bargaining rights and strengthen the middle-class. AFSCME Council 3, which represents 25,000 workers across the State, is now formally signed on to work with the Brown-Ulman team to win this election and partner with a Brown-Ulman administration to build a better Maryland.

“AFSCME has been a crucial part of the progress we’ve made for Maryland’s working families over the last seven years. I'm grateful to have them on the Brown-Ulman team,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “By working together to protect collective bargaining rights, invest in our schools and develop more career training education programs, we’ll strengthen the middle-class and build a better Maryland.”

“As County Executive for the last seven years, I’ve seen the dedication and sense of service that Maryland’s public sector workers bring to our communities every day,” said County Executive Ken Ulman. “These hard working men and women keep our state running and ensure that working families receive the services and support they need every day. I’m thrilled to have their support for the Brown-Ulman team and look forward to working with them in office to build a better Maryland for our middle-class.” 

“We can count on Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman to get the job done for working families,” said Patrick Moran, AFSCME Maryland Council 3 President. “Anthony Brown is the type of leader who understands that hard‐working public employees provide vital services, and he respects us as valued partners. Elections matter, and that's why we're committed to doing the hard work to elect the Brown-Ulman team.”

To view an updated list of all of Anthony Brown’s endorsements, .


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

UPDATE: Labor Unions Picketed the Montgomery County Democratic Party's Spring Ball // What Happened & What's Next

Over the last couple weeks, Maryland Juice has been writing about the heated conflict that emerged between some area labor unions and Democrats in Montgomery County. Labor leaders announced a picket of the MoCo Democratic Party's annual fundraiser last Saturday, causing elected officials from around Maryland to weigh in with varying opinions on the matter. So what happened at the protest?

Below Maryland Juice provides a range of photos, videos, and newspaper commentary describing and reacting to the conflict. My early read is that the final chapter in this story is not yet written, and politicos can expect to see this conflict continuing into the future. Details below:

JUICE #1: CONGRESSMAN CHRIS VAN HOLLEN SPEAKS AT MCDCC BALL //  WHO ELSE ATTENDED? - Maryland Juice has heard various accounts of notable attendees at last Saturday's MCDCC Spring Ball. Several guests have confirmed attendance from the following noteworthy area politicos:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen Speaks at MCDCC Ball
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen*
  • County Executive Ike Leggett
  • County Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, George Leventhal, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice & Hans Riemer*
  • State Senators Rich Madaleno and Jamie Raskin*
  • Delegates Kathleen Dumais, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Anne Kaiser and Aruna Miller
  • Jon Gerson*

* NOTES: Congressman Van Hollen was at the ball to honor former Congressman Mike Barnes. State Senator Jamie Raskin dropped by late to the event to drop off a citation honoring a gun control advocate. Likewise, Gutierrez, Navarro and Rice were all presenting awards to Democratic activists.

Councilmember explaining why he decided not to attend the MCDCC Ball. Councilmember . Councilmember .

Many people noted the presence of , but he was attending in his role as an MCDCC precinct official. This shows readers just one of the many complex personal ties involved in the labor dispute. Another example is that MCGEO union chief Gino Renne, who helped lead the protest, was previously scheduled to present an MCDCC award to a Democratic activist and personal friend. Obviously that didn't end up happening.

JUICE #2: MOCO DEMS LOSE UP TO $15,000  //  FOP SAYS THINGS WOULDN'T BE WORSE WITH REPUBLICANS ON THE COUNTY COUNCIL -, and his article included some commentary from both Democratic officials and union leaders (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: About 200 union members protested outside a Montgomery County Democratic Party fundraiser Saturday, asserting the party had strayed from progressive positions. The action skimmed off about 15 percent of its normal attendance....

“They’re losing a lot of friends in the Democratic Party who would want to be there for them for the next one and now they’re not so sure,” said Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Takoma Park.

“I think it’s creating a schism within the Democratic Party against labor,” said Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda....
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Gabe Albornoz said about 340 people attended the fundraiser.... he said the event raised about $45,000; he had expected $10,000 to $15,000 more....

We wouldn’t be doing any worse with a couple of Republicans on the council, the way we’ve been treated the last four years. How could we do any worse?” former FOP president Marc Zifcak said....

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said he believed some of the unions’ grievances were legitimate....

JUICE #3: AFL-CIO PRESIDENT SAYS "NO EXCUSE ... 2014 STARTS TODAY" - The day after the labor protest at the MCDCC Spring Ball, the AFL-CIO Metro Council sent the following message to their email list subscribers (excerpt below):
AFL-CIO: Do Real Democrats Cross Picket Lines? Heavy rain couldn’t stop the festive mood Saturday evening as labor activists from all over the DC metro area picketed the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Spring Ball. Started in response to the MCDCC’s position last year in favor of the Question B referendum (MCDCC Ball Boycott/Picket Focus is Solidarity UC 5/10/2013) the protest brought together activists from UFCW 1994 MCGEO and Local 400, IAFF 1664, ATU 689, OPEIU 2, Progressive Maryland, and many more. Picketers held umbrellas over home-made signs, ringing bells and blowing whistles as they cheerfully chanted “Do Real Democrats Cross Picket Lines? NO!” The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) were at the center of the picket, proudly wearing their MCYD t-shirts as they boycotted the Ball.

“The future of the democratic movement is out here, not in there,” said Metro Council President Jos Williams, as activists gathered at the corner. Williams introduced MCYD President Dave Kunes, who passed up receiving the “Democrat of the Year” award at the Ball to boycott the event with many other MCYD members. “This isn’t about a single issue,” said Kunes to a cheering crowd. “You all out here – you are my party!” Music blasted from a band made up of AFM 161-710 members as Williams saluted the politicians who joined the picket. At press time, two politicians – County Executive candidate Phil Andrews and County Councilmember Hans Riemer – were seen having crossed the picket. “There’s no excuse for politicians going in there” said Williams. “We are sending a message. It will not be business as usual… 2014 starts today.

JUICE #4: SOMERSET MAYOR JEFFREY SLAVIN BOYCOTTS MOCO YOUNG DEMS EVENTS UNTIL NEW LEADERSHIP IN PLACE - In the days after the labor protest of Montgomery County Democrats, the MoCo Young Dems (who backed the picket line) sent out . Their invitation was met with a stinging rebuke from Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, who was one of the Democratic activists receiving an award at the MCDCC Ball:
JEFFREY SLAVIN: Dear President Kunes,

Please remove me from your list.

I am shocked and appalled that you joined the protest on Saturday night.  You are supposed to be Democrats first!  And your reasons for supporting the so-called  "strike" make no sense.  There are lots of young people in office in Montgomery County and no one is stopping any of you from running.  The Central Committee does not make endorsements anyway and your group looked foolish.

I will not plan to attend any of your events until you have new leadership in place.

Thanks for considering my views. I have been speaking to many Democrats in the past few days and I can tell you that many others feel the same way.

Jeffrey Slavin
Mayor/Town of Somerset
2013 MCDCC Morgan-Jerney Community Service Awardee

cc: Maryland Juice

Interestingly, (excerpt below):
JOSH KURTZ (VIA CENTER MARYLAND): When I’ve been asked over the past several days what I think of the decision by Montgomery County public employee unions to picket the county Democratic Party’s annual spring ball the other night, all I can say is, “A plague on all their houses.”

In a way you have to admire the unions’ chutzpah, and their success in disrupting the spring ball, which nevertheless was about three-quarters full....

On the other hand, the self-righteous indignation of some of the Democratic stalwarts who decided to make a show of crossing the picket line was also a little stomach turning – along with their warnings that the sky was falling due to the labor-county party schism....

Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of the brouhaha was that Dave Kunes did not get his moment in the sun. Kunes, the president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, was supposed to be presented with the “Democrat of the Year” award at the dinner. But he did not hesitate to pull the Young Dems’ sponsorship of the spring ball when the unions cranked up their protest....

Kunes, who works as an aide to Del. Tom Hucker (D) during legislative sessions in Annapolis, doesn’t rule out a political career someday. But in his mind, there are more important battles to fight....

JUICE #5: SEN. MANNO, DEL. HUCKER & DEL. ROBINSON GET SHOUT-OUTS AT PICKET LINE // PLUS: PHOTOS & VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE PROTEST - A participant in the labor picket at the MCDCC Ball reports that State Senators Roger Manno and Delegates Tom Hucker & Shane Robinson were recognized as supporters during the labor protest. Below we also provide photos and video footage from the event that we found on social networking sites. MoCo Young Dem : "I am SO PROUD of Montgomery County Young Democrats President Dave Kunes for his principled stand today WITH Labor in MoCo. I've never been prouder to call myself a Young Democrat!"

. We sample a couple images below:

WHAT NEXT? - This conflict is creating a very interesting backdrop to the looming 2014 Democratic Primary cycle. Maryland Juice will be reporting on how this all plays out very soon, and we are already hearing numerous theories about what might happen next. My personal hope going forward is that all parties involved will prioritize advancing justice as they plot their next moves. Hopefully we are all Democrats and labor supporters because we believe these entities are institutions that can help us advance social and economic justice. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, folks!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner Releases Letter He Sent to MoCo Democratic Party Chair Gabe Albernoz

Maryland Juice received the following letter from Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner to Gabe Albernoz, Chair of the MCDCC. The topic is obviously tonight's planned labor protest of the Spring Ball:

I am writing to reaffirm my commitment to tonight’s Democratic Spring Ball and to our Democratic Party  that has worked tirelessly for the core values that unite us. I look forward to attending tonight’s event as I always do and to honoring the women and men who are receiving well-earned awards this evening.  The Party  - its individual members, its precint chairs and the Central Committee – has steadfastly supported the County Council by voting to support Question B, and I would never consider for a moment not supporting the Party in return.
Unfortunately, there are some who apparently think there is no room for disagreement within our party and out of blind ideology or fear of retribution, are choosing to boycott tonight’s event and punish our party in the process.  I find this to be troubling to say the least.  One of the things that makes Montgomery County so special is that we are one of the most well-educated communities in the country.  We are a thinking, discerning community and wherever that is true, you will find thoughtful disagreement even amongst the most ideologically aligned individuals.  And that is something we should embrace, not shun or punish.
The moment we become the party of  blind obedience – to any one constituency or stakeholder group – is the day we lose our integrity as a party.  As in most things in life, good, thoughtful people can disagree.  But at the end of the day, our precinct officials overwhelmingly supported the legislative actions of a unanimous Council and the electorate weighed in similarly.  Let us move on.
Our country and our community have many challenges ahead, and it is important that we move forward with respectful, open dialogue, acknowledging that we will not always agree on every issue.  Let us come together tonight to celebrate our party and our common values and put divisiveness aside.

Roger Berliner
Montgomery County Council
District 1


Montgomery County Exec Ike Leggett, MCDCC & Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin Respond to Tonight's Labor Protest of MoCo Dems

Below Maryland Juice prints a press release we received a couple days ago from the MCDCC regarding tonight's protest of their Spring Ball. They note that County Executive Ike Leggett is supporting the Democratic Party. We also received comment from Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, who is being honored at tonight's MCDCC Ball:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE: County Executive and Local Leaders Support the Democratic Ball, Fundraiser Will Continue as Planned This Saturday, May 11

Kensington, MD – The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) is disappointed by the decision of some in Labor Unions to boycott and picket the 2013 Spring Ball. The MCDCC has been and remain strong believers and supporters of organized labor. The Party stands behind the working men and women in this County.

The MCDCC has made numerous attempts to reach out to Labor leaders to meet formally to discuss this matter. To date, Labor has not reciprocated a call for a meeting. “There is deep concern that this divisive action will make it more difficult to fight for issues important to both organized Labor and the Democratic Party.” Party Chair, Gabe Albornoz stated, “Historical data acknowledges that the strongest outcomes are produced when we work together.”

Many local elected officials continue to stand with the party, including: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, members of the Montgomery County Council, members of the Democratic State Delegation, Federal Elected Officials, as well as numerous Democratic Clubs and Caucus have all pledged their support for the 2013 Spring Ball.

The Party and its strength are built from the grassroots volunteers and precinct organization. Last fall, the precinct organization overwhelmingly voted 109 to 14 in favor of Question B. The Committee affirmed this position, and made it the official stance of the Party during the November 2012 election.

The Central Committee, as the governing body of the local Democratic Party, works to educate voters, staff the polls on Election Day and get Democrats elected, including mailing a sample ballot to every registered Democrat in the County. The Spring Ball serves at the Party’s main fundraising event, without which the work of the Party may be dramatically impacted.

JEFFREY SLAVIN: Dear Maryland Juice,

As a lifelong Democrat and active philanthropist, I have spent my entire career working for families in need in our great County.  Many of these families are part of proud union households throughout Montgomery. Many of these are immigrants, and many of these are black, brown and yellow.

Tonight, as a result of my involvement,  I will be receiving the prestigious Morgan-Jerney Community Service Award.  I will, with great sorrow, cross the so-called "picket line"  (which I do not believe was voted on by the rank of file and is not a strike or work stoppage), so that I can accept this award and dedicate it to the thousands of workers here who have been left behind by Republican Tea Party inspired policies like the sequester.

It seems that me that the protest activity that is being proposed  is more of a power play by some elite leaders and that we will be losing sight of our common Democratic and Union goals to provide a better quality of life for the working families in Montgomery County.  That makes me sad.  United We Stand, Divided We Fall.


GUEST POST: Councilmember Phil Andrews on Union Protest of MoCo Democrats // PLUS: George Leventhal & Others Weigh In

Tonight is the Montgomery County Democratic Party's annual spring fundraiser, the source of a planned picket line from various labor unions in the area. Below Maryland Juice provides a final round of commentary on the controversy from various MoCo and Maryland politicos:

JUICE #1: GUEST POST FROM COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS - Statement by Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews on the boycott of the Democratic Spring Ball led by the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO
PHIL ANDREWS: It's no surprise that the Fraternal Order of Police is unhappy with the County Council (unanimous vote in favor), the County Executive, the County's Democratic Party (precinct officials voted 109-14 in favor), and the voters of Montgomery County (58 percent voted in favor, a margin of more than 60,000 votes). All supported eliminating the requirement in law that the Chief of Montgomery County Police bargain the effects of the exercise of all management decisions with the Fraternal Order of Police. No other County union has "effects bargaining" in law and the County Council was wise not to extend effects bargaining beyond its initial mistake in the 1980s of including it in the police collective bargaining law. As the chair of the Council's Public Safety Committee since 2000, my experience is that the effects bargaining provision prevented our County's police department from implementing policies in a timely manner to better protect both the public and police officers. The FOP disagrees and that is their right.

What is notable about the statements of those Democratic elected officials who say they will boycott the Montgomery County Democratic Spring Ball on May 11, as called for by the Washington Metropolitan AFL-CIO, is that none of the elected officials even attempt to defend the effects bargaining requirement that the County Council and the voters eliminated. Their statements essentially say, "If organized labor is against it, the Democratic Party should not be for it." That's what this boycott is about. Veto power. The public will be disturbed that so many elected public officials who are Democrats appear willing to cede the Democratic Party's independence to organized labor.

It's easy to understand why unions want a veto over public policy positions of the Democratic Party, but for elected officials, central committee members, and precinct officials to do so would be an abdication of responsibility to the people we represent -- the public. Public officials should support the positions of unions when they further the public interest (such as living wages which I led the battle for on the County Council, health care coverage, and workplace safety), and oppose the positions of unions when they conflict with the public interest (such as effects bargaining). If adhering to this approach costs the Democratic Party money from unions, that's the price of doing the right thing for the people we represent.

JUICE #2: COUNCILMEMBER GEORGE LEVENTHAL'S EMAIL BLAST ON THE MCDCC PROTEST - George Leventhal sent the following message to his email subscribers regarding the planned labor protest:
GEORGE LEVENTHAL: Dear Friends, I will be attending the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s (MCDCC) Spring Ball on Saturday, May 11. Several unions and some elected officials have announced they will boycott this event. I was MCDCC chairman from 1996 to 2001, and I know how hard the staff and precinct volunteers work to ensure a strong Democratic presence in Montgomery County. I have attended this event every year for 26 years, and I will not be swayed by the protest demonstration.

While I will attend the ball because my relationship with the county Democratic Party is a key part of my history, we should not dismiss out of the hand the protestors’ concerns as petulant. It is the job of leaders to listen to all sides, and try to bring people together.

Union members are understandably frustrated by an unprecedented fusillade of decisions that weakened their economic position and affected their family incomes. While some of these decisions were necessary in the midst of a deep recession, others may have appeared like political opportunism, egged on by The Washington Post editorial page. In 2010 and 2011, County Executive Leggett and the County Council restructured arbitration rules, revised disability benefits, abrogated contracts, increased health insurance and retirement premiums, repealed effects bargaining and some councilmembers even tried to prevent firefighters from raising money for muscular dystrophy research. In 2012, the council hired an attorney at public expense to purge the effects bargaining referendum from the ballot and County Executive Leggett used public funds to campaign against the referendum. To the unions, this barrage of anti-union legislation appeared like an overreach. While some political blowback should be expected, the unions are overreaching in response. They have the right to mount a protest but no right to decide for others who may attend the event.

Presidential historian Richard Neustadt relays an important story about the 1952 transition between Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower: "He'll sit here," Truman remarked (tapping his desk for emphasis), "and he'll say, 'Do this! Do that!' And nothing will happen. Poor Ike-it won't be a bit like the Army. He'll find it very frustrating."

An executive can issue orders, but can only achieve his or her goals by inspiring his or her workforce and earning its loyalty, and our county has an excellent workforce. These are the bus drivers, social workers, police officers and firefighters upon whose service we rely, and whose wages have stagnated. Over the last three years, these people gave up on average about $30,000 through pay freezes, larger contributions to health and retirement plans, and furloughs. The County also eliminated more than 10 percent of the workforce. These sacrifices saved $469 million over those four years, and they continue to save the County $154 million annually.

That’s why I thought it was reasonable to vote for new contracts for county employees that do not amount to double-digit increases in a single year, as has been misconstrued. After four years without raises, the contracts call for a 3.25% cost-of-living adjustment, step increases of 3.5% for eligible employees, and small retroactive step increases for police officers and career fire fighters. The total cost in 2014 is $32 million, still a $122 million savings to the county in that year alone.

The county makes budget decisions year by year. If economic circumstances worsen, when we examine the 2015 budget, we can make adjustments. I don’t feel that a social worker making $53,000 is undeserving of a raise amounting to $75 a week, or that a police officer doesn’t earn his or her $3,600 increase. These are the people who dutifully serve the residents of this county.

Labor and its allies are not only protesting anti-union decisions. Union leaders have told me that the protest is also against an unwarranted tax giveaway approved by the state legislature for Lockheed Martin and special expedited rezoning to allow a Walmart in Aspen Hill. Young Democrats are protesting longtime officeholders who treat their seats as an entitlement. They are unhappy about a sense that the party that they know and love is drifting from its principles. The elected officials who make these decisions do so in good conscience, pursuing their own vision of the public interest. But these same elected officials are accountable to the people who campaigned and voted for them, and the political blowback is not surprising.

With time, cooler heads will prevail. In the meantime, let’s all respect each other’s point of view, not draw lines in the sand over whether or not to attend a social event on Saturday night.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you in any way.


JUICE #3: MARYLAND YOUNG DEMOCRATS PRESIDENT JOINS LABOR PROTEST -  The MoCo & Prince George's Young Dems previously announced support of the labor protest tonight, and now the statewide Young Democrats are weighing in with the following press release:
YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF MARYLAND: YDM President to join MoCo Picket Line Tomorrow - One of my most vivid memories as a kid was waking up early some mornings to join my dad on his bus route. He was a school bus driver and on the days childcare fell through, I was with him on the bus…big Joe and Little Joe. Those days helped developed my passion for education even before I was in school myself. Those mornings also helped introduce me to the labor movement. It was because of his union contract that my parents knew if babysitting didn’t work out I could ride the bus with dad. It was because of his contract my family had good health benefits. It was because of his contract that college was always within reach for me if I did my part. Labor has been a key foundation of my family and my life personally. It fundamentally is why I am a Democrat.

This weekend I hoped to join my friends and fellow young democrats to honor the President of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, Dave Kunes for all his hard work at the MCCDCC Spring Ball. He has done an outstanding job not only with MCYD but the entire Montgomery County Young Democrats. However news that the AFL-CIO has established a picket line of the event makes that impossible. The first lesson I learned from labor is to never cross a picket line, and it is a lesson I’ll honor this weekend.

The Democratic Party is a big tent but one of the strongest pillars holding that tent up is the labor movement and an unyielding belief in the right to collectively bargain. So instead of dressing up in a nice suit and going to a dinner party, I’ll have my marching shoes on standing with the men and women who help keep our community moving forward.

-Rev. Joseph Lynn Kitchen Jr.
President - Young Democrats of Maryland

JUICE #4: MORE ELECTED DEMOCRATS JOIN LABOR PROTEST OF MCDCC -  The latest AFL-CIO Metro Council newsletter highlights additional elected Democrats who are joining the labor protest of the MCDCC:
AFL-CIO: Local 1994's Renne reports that the local has lined up live music, food and refreshments for the 5:30p picket, which continues to generate support, with UFCW Local 400 on board, as well as Maryland delegates Kumar Barve, Bonnie Cullison, Sheila Hixson, Shane Robinson, Luiz Simmons and Craig Zucker joining the boycott yesterday.

JUICE #5: DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT OFFICIAL COMMENTS ON MCDCC PROTEST -Emily Koechlin, a Democratic Precinct Official in Montgomery County has provided Maryland Juice with the following letter she sent to some of her friends who are leading the protest of the MCDCC Ball:
EMILY KOECHLIN: This situation has me very, very, distressed.

I have served as a precinct official with the Montgomery County Democrats for over ten years. I am one of the precinct officials who voted to recommend a YES vote on Question B in last November’s election. 109 out of 123 of us precinct officials present at the ballot initiatives meeting voted to endorse a YES on Question B.

I strongly support Labor.  I am very concerned that collective bargaining has been weakened in so many ways throughout the US. However, at the precinct meeting last fall where we precinct officials voted for our positions on ballot initiatives, no proponents of the Police Union position demonstrated that supporting Question B would weaken Organized Labor. I did not walk into that meeting planning to vote against Labor’s position. However, once I heard the arguments pro and con, I voted in support of Question B because I felt I could not do otherwise. Montgomery County Police Chief Manger, as well as other police officials who testified, presented us with very strong, reasonable, arguments in favor of their position. Officials speaking for Labor provided us with pretty much no reason at all to support theirs.

109 out of 123 of us voted to endorse a YES on Question B. 109 out of 123 is 89%. Do you really think that 89% of your Democratic Party grassroots activists are anti-labor and that 89% of us want to “gut collective bargaining?”

Perhaps there were some very good reasons to vote NO on Question B. I would have loved to have heard them.  However, no one testifying against the ballot initiative presented any such arguments. I would have been delighted to have voted to support Labor. However, I am not willing to show blind loyalty to anyone, even family or close friends.

I wish so much that those who are planning to carry anti-MCDCC signs and join the picket line Saturday night had been present to see what really happened at that meeting. In my opinion this action drives a wedge between organizations that all support the hardworking people in our County, our State and our Country. I want to keep unions strong (or make them strong again) in Maryland and in the US, but I think that this approach will not help in this effort, but rather turn people against unions.

Emily Koechlin
Takoma Park


Thursday, May 9, 2013

GUEST POST: Councilmember Craig Rice "Why I'm Going to the MCDCC Spring Ball" // PLUS: Former Pol Gail Ewing Comments

The planned labor protest of this Saturday's MCDCC Spring Ball is continuing to roil politics in Montgomery County. After all, the event is the party's biggest fundraiser of the year. Below Maryland Juice publishes a guest post from Democratic Councilmember Craig Rice and former Councilmember Gail Ewing.

JUICE #1: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER CRAIG RICE - "Why I am going to the MCDCC Spring Ball"
CRAIG RICE: What is missing in this debate about the MCDCC Spring Ball are the awardees.  I am presenting the Rosalie Reilly Lifetime Service Award to Tina Clarke.  You will not find a Democratic candidate in this County that Christine ”Tina” Clarke has not worked for.  Over the past years, she has volunteered her time, her car, her family, her friends and her work colleagues to help Democratic candidates.  Tina’s kitchen in Poolesville is known as “Election Central”.  She is famous for bringing candidates to Black churches and for generating volunteers and support from these congregations for the candidates.
In addition, there is not one non-profit, school or civil rights organization in the County that Tina has not helped.  Tina has provided enormous assistance to children in need and parents from challenged communities.  She has never asked for credit, she just works behind the scenes to help.

Her and her family are stalwarts in the historic Black community of Poolesville and in Montgomery County as a whole.  There is nothing that would stand in the way of me honoring her and her commitment to our community.

My wife and I will be there to honor her and the other community volunteer awardees that have fought hard for years to enact and foster Democratic principles in our County.

It is my hope that all parties will join me in honoring those that have given of themselves to help us all have a better way of life here in Montgomery County.

JUICE #2: FORMER MOCO COUNCILMEMBER GAIL EWING - A reader posted the following letter in the comments section of a post earlier today:
GAIL EWING: Dear Montgomery County Democratic Elected Officials,

I am ashamed of our elected officials who are participating the the boycott of the Spring Ball on Saturday. This Labor action is despicable -- intended to bring the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and Party to it's knees.

By supporting this boycott our elected officials are saying and affirming that our Democratic Party is just a front for Organized Labor. Whatever Labor wants -- Labor gets.... and when they don't, the Party will pay -- dearly -- and we, as elected officials, think that is okay and support Labor's actions by joining in the boycott.

Organized Labor is a major part of the Democratic Party but just one of many partners and the thousands of supporters who make up the heart and hard work of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

Our Central Committee is an elected body chosen by Montgomery County Democrats. They didn't do what Organized Labor wanted them to do on this one issue. After all the 30+ years of doing just about everything Organized Labor asked them to do.

Is Organized Labor afraid of the Central Committee's power?

How else to explain the insanity of turning their backs on the award winners who will receive recognition Saturday night for their hard work and dedication to the Democratic Party.

How else to explain failing to contribute to the Party's major fundraiser of the year.

How else to explain the ridicule, humiliation and embarrassment to the Party caused by this boycott -- for all to see.

Organized Labor has made their point and the only salvation in this situation is to call-off their boycott. If they do not, I, for one, will proudly cross their picket line on Saturday and support the Montgomery County Democratic Party that has been there for all of us and will continue to be there with us in spite of this action by Organized Labor.

I urge all our elected officials join me and be there Saturday night.

Gail Ewing
Former Montgomery County Councilmember


LEAKED EMAIL: Del. Kathleen Dumais Explains Impact of Labor Protest on MoCo Democrats // Shuttered Office & Layoffs?

UPDATE: Senator Roger Manno released the following on his website today:
ROGER MANNO: In reading the following letter regarding the Montgomery County Labor Boycott, I think this discussion needs some context.

Regardless of whether you support collective bargaining or Question B, the issue is: Whether a major financial contributor (organized labor) to the Party should reasonably expect that its financial resources would not be used by the Party, in a county-wide mailing to all members of the Party, in order to reduce the rights of that contributor's members. 

A Maryland Juice source leaked to us the following email from Delegate Kathleen Dumais (a MoCo Democrat) to some of her colleagues in the Assembly. Her message highlights the potential consequences of the labor protest of this weekend's Democratic Party ball:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathleen M. Dumais <XXXXX>
Date: Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Subject: MCDCC Spring Ball: Consequences of the Boycott/Picket by the FOP, AFL-CIO, and Others
To: "Kathleen M. Dumais" <XXXXX>

Dear Colleagues:

Clearly, we've all received communications from the AFL-CIO, Progressive Maryland and others asking that we "boycott/picket" the Spring Ball on Saturday because the MCDCC supported Question B on the Ballot in the general election last year.   This is very unfortunate and we will all feel the consequences in 2014 when we look to the MCDCC during the election for assistance, as will all of the new, fresh candidates yet to be identified - and who labor and some of the groups supporting the boycott/picket will be promoting.

First, as we all know and regardless of our individual positions on Question B, the Central Committee did not support Question B in a vacuum.  Just as each of the labor organizations have a process for vetting issues, so does the Montgomery County Democratic Party.  All of the Ballot Questions were submitted to a Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC) which reviewed each of the questions and prepared a report.  On September 19, 2012 the Precinct Organization met to adopt a position on each question.  Presentations by proponents and opponents were made on each question after a member of the BQAC discussed the committee's position.  The Precinct Organization then voted on each question and the vote on Question B was 109 in favor and 14 against.   Exactly what does labor believe the members of the Central Committee should have done after the vote?  Ignore the vote of the Precinct Organization and not put the result on the sample ballot just because it was against a "labor" issue?  Remember, the police union petitioned the question to the ballot.  Would labor leadership have the authority to ignore the vote of their membership if they disagreed with it?  I doubt it.

So, where are we now and what are the consequences?    Be prepared to contribute heavily to the MCDCC sample ballot for the November general election.  I just learned that as of today, MCDCC is in the hole financially for the event on Saturday night with the low number of reservations, cancellations and the fact that with low turnout the silent auction will probably be a complete bust.  Further, at this point, the MCDCC leaders believe that at a minimum they will have to cut staff and stop mailing newsletters.  They also may have to close the office in Kensington based on the amount they anticipate losing on the event.    Certainly doesn't bode well for what the MCDCC will be able to accomplish for Montgomery County democratic candidates 2014  -- incumbents and new candidates.   Just FYI -- in 2006, my contribution to the sample ballot was $750; in 2010 my contribution was $830.  I suggest we each budget much more than that for 2014.   Assuming the purpose of the boycott/picket was to cripple the Montgomery County Democratic Party - mission accomplished.

But, I certainly cannot say job well done because this is a clear case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.  Lord knows I do not always agree with the MCDCC but, during the general elections their assistance is invaluable and the sample ballot - particularly for first time candidates is, as they say "priceless."   However, by killing the primary fundraiser for the party, the sample ballot for 2014 probably won't be priceless.

Let's be honest, not one Montgomery County elected official, precinct official or member of the Democratic Central Committee is anti-labor.  Whatever our individual positions may have been on Question B, boycotting/picketing the MCDCC Spring Ball is certainly not an effective remedy given that the MCDCC has absolutely no authority to change the law!   Although this is obvious, MCDCC is NOT an employer or a party to any contract involved with the bargaining rights that are the subject of Question B and the event on Saturday night is simply a Democratic Party fundraiser.    Therefore, calling whatever the action is that takes place on Saturday a "picket" line is absolutely outrageous.   This is NOT a picket line.  This is NOT striking workers protesting a grievance against an employer for unsafe work conditions or poor wages or loss of collective bargaining rights!

Apparently labor and other organizations were and are unhappy that in a transparent, democratic process they lost the vote on Question B at the MCDCC, and ultimately in the general election.   I am the first one to acknowledge that the MCDCC Ballot Committee/Precinct Official meeting where the Ballot Question votes were taken was one of the most absurd, poorly run meetings I've ever witnessed - but there was an opportunity for both sides to make a presentation and then there was a VOTE.

I have never seen anything like this.   But, I am going to the Spring Ball.  The democratic volunteers that worked hard to put this event together and that work on all of our campaigns do not deserve to be treated this way - particularly when this boycott/picket is just plain wrong.  It was a ballot question!  It was voted on by the precinct organization like ALL of the other ballot questions.

When we are asked next Fall to kick in hefty sums for the sample ballot, we should all remember why the price tag is higher for the 2014 election.  If no one answers the phone at the Montgomery County Democratic Party office in the near future - we should also remember why.

Legislatively, I vote with labor and will continue to do so.  But I disagree with the proposed boycott/picket because I do not think it is properly directed.  There were and are ways to make the point that labor issues are important - and the best way to do that would be for labor to attend the Spring Ball and communicate with the Democratic Party volunteers and Precinct Officials!  Again, the consequences of this action may actually hurt candidates that I believe the organizations promoting the boycott/picket support - whether incumbents or new, fresh faces in 2014.  (And, yes, I understand - I may not be one of the ones supported!)

Just my thoughts.

Best regards.

P.S.  In case you haven't seen it - below is a copy of the Post Editorial on this topic from this morning.

Kathleen M. Dumais

UPDATE: Doug Gansler & Doug Duncan Join Labor Picket of MoCo Democrats // PLUS: Washington Post Slams Protesters

Below Maryland Juice provides a few more updates on the planned labor protest at this Saturday's Montgomery County Democratic spring ball:

JUICE #1: DOUG GANSLER, DOUG DUNCAN & MORE DEMOCRATS JOIN LABOR PROTEST - This morning the AFL-CIO Metro Council emailed a newsletter with an update on which politicians are participating in the labor protest of the MCDCC ball. Notable new participants are Attorney General Doug Gansler and former County Executive Doug Duncan:
AFL-CIO: Political Support Building for MCDCC Spring Ball Boycott/Picket: All four Democrats reportedly seeking the Maryland Governor's office in 2014 are now supporting the Metro Washington Council’s boycott/picket of Saturday’s MCDCC Spring Ball. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman have joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur on the growing list of political leaders boycotting the Ball. The boycott and picket have been organized to protest the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s support last year for the Question B referendum, which took away the police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions. “Real Democrats walk picket lines,” said Metro Council President Jos Williams. “We’re very heartened by the leadership shown by those who are supporting us and their messages of solidarity.” Also on board are FOP Lodge 35, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, IAFF Local 1664, CWA Local 2108, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, Prince Georges County Young Democrats, Progressive Maryland, Fund Our Communities, retired Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, who join U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Maryland senators Brian Frosh, Rob Garagiola, Roger Manno, Karen Montgomery and Jamie Raskin, and Maryland delegates Charles Barkley, Aisha Braveboy, Bill Frick, Tom Hucker, Ben Kramer and Eric Luedtke. The picket starts at 5:30p on Saturday in Rockville.

JUICE 2: WASHINGTON POST RELEASES EDITORIAL SLAMMING LABOR PROTEST OF MOCO DEMOCRATIC BALL - The planned labor protest of the MCDCC spring ball has attracted the interest of the Washington Post editorial board. Last night (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Some Democrats say they will not cross a picket line “on principle.” But exactly what is the principle they’re upholding? An absurd rule, unmatched in other police departments, that was rejected by 60 percent of Montgomery voters? In this case, the “principle” at stake looks more like political cowardice....
It is particularly troubling in the case of Mr. Brown. If he can’t stand up to bullying by arrogant special interests — even to attend a fundraiser by his own party — what kind of spine can Marylanders expect from him as chief executive?

JUICE #3: PRINCE GEORGE'S YOUNG DEMOCRATS ISSUE STATEMENT ANNOUNCING SUPPORT OF LABOR PROTEST AT MCDCC BALL - The Prince George's Young Democrats released the following feisty statement indicating support for the labor protest of the MCDCC ball:

Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Young Democrats stand against Montgomery County Democrat Central Committee’s decision on 2012 Question B referendum

Prince George's County, MD (May 8, 2013)- Prince George’s County Young Democrats (PGCYD) collaborate with Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) in an acclaimed support to picket and boycott the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s  (MCDCC) Spring Ball held on Saturday, May 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

Their decision to picket and boycott has come after MCDCC voted in favor of the 2012 Question B referendum, which discards police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions. Furthermore, this political uproar caused County residents to question MCDCC’s integrity. “MCDCC has gone against our Democratic principles and have shown they are no better than Republicans in Wisconsin when it comes to economic policy,” said Larry Stafford, President of PGCYD.

With statewide officials set to cancel their attendance and donors to seek refunds, the picket and boycott could bankrupt the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

For more information on this boycott, please contact Larry Stafford, President of PGCYD at 202-907-9597 or via e-mail at .

About Prince George’s County Young Democrats

The Prince George's County Young Democrats is an organization devoted to inspiring the young residents of its county to increase political engagement through voter registration, education, and commitment in engaging young residents to take a stance on the local issues and to participate in political campaigns; local or national. For more information on PGCYD visit www.PGCYD.com or contact Maurielle Stewart, Vice President of
Communications at .

About Montgomery County Young Democrats

The Montgomery County Young Democrats is an organization committed to engaging and developing young residents into future leaders through political action to working for sustainable just communities. For more information on MCYD visit www.MCYD.org or contact Nik Sushka, Director of Communications at Nik..

About Question B Referendum

In 2012, Montgomery County Democrat Central Committee voted for Question B Referendum, which includes the distribution of significant police equipment and the revision of “Use of Force” policy. Many residents found the bill to actually hinder the Police Department's mission to protect officers, county residents and property. For More information on Question B Referendum, visit Support MOCO Police Officers.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

UPDATE: Ken Ulman, Heather Mizeur, Aisha Braveboy and Other Candidates Join Labor Protest of MoCo Democratic Ball

Below Maryland Juice provides a round of updates on which Democratic officials and organizations are supporting a planned protest of this Saturday's MoCo Democratic Party fundraising ball. It appears that statewide officials and a handful of MoCo lawmakers are unwilling to cross the picket line. There were apparently attempts by a few Democratic officials to broker some sort of compromise this week, but the unions appear set on holding their protest. Details below:

JUICE #1: KEN ULMAN & HEATHER MIZEUR JOIN ANTHONY BROWN IN SUPPORTING LABOR PROTEST - Three out of the four Democrats seeking the Governor's office in 2014 are now supporting the AFL-CIO's protest of the MCDCC spring ball. Only Attorney General Doug Gansler has not yet weighed in, while Lt. Governor Anthony Brown previously indicated he would be joining the labor protest. Below Maryland Juice provides statements from Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Delegate Heather Mizeur:
KEN ULMAN: I would like to be able to support my labor friends in Montgomery County, and celebrate the achievements of my Democratic neighbors in Montgomery County. But I can't do both on May 11.  I will honor the picket and the protest, and hope that these tensions are resolved soon.

HEATHER MIZEUR: If there's one thing I learned from my Dad, a UAW member for 32 years, it's solidarity – the importance of standing together. My Dad never once crossed a picket line, and I certainly will not cross one for Saturday's event.

JUICE #2: DEL. AISHA BRAVEBOY JOINS DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL IN SUPPORTING UNION PROTESTERS - Maryland Juice previously printed responses from three out of the four Democratic candidates for Attorney General indicating they would be supporting the union protesters and cancelling previous plans to attend the MCDCC spring ball: State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegates Bill Frick & Jon Cardin. But now all four Democratic candidates are supporting the protest. We recently received the following statement from Del. Aisha Braveboy indicating that she too would not be attending the MCDCC ball:
DEL. AISHA BRAVEBOY: I respect the decision by our brothers and sisters in labor to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to assemble; and I believe that the decision by labor to boycott and picket the MCDCC Spring Fling was made after thoughtful consideration and deliberation by its membership.

My hope is that this action by our party's most loyal and giving constituency will lead to meaningful dialogues between all parties and the development of a plan to move forward in unity.

I hope to be able to attend the Spring Fling in 2014, but will be standing in solidarity with my labor partners this year.

Aisha N. Braveboy, Esq. Delegate (D-25)

JUICE #3: COALITION OF ELECTED OFFICIALS AND ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT LABOR PROTEST OF MCDCC BALL - Today Maryland Juice received the latest , and it includes a round-up of additional officials and groups endorsing their planned picket of the MoCo Democratic Spring Ball this weekend (excerpt below):
AFL-CIO: Here’s who’s joined the boycott thus far: Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO; FOP Lodge 35; UFCW Local 1994, MCGEO; IAFF Local 1664; Montgomery County Young Democrats; Prince Georges County Young Democrats; Progressive Maryland; Fund Our Communities; Senator Ben Cardin (D, MD); Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown; Del. Charles Barkley; Del. Bill Frick; Del Brian Frosh; Sen. Rob Garagiola; Del. Tom Hucker; Sen. Roger Manno; Del. Heather R. Mizeur; Sen. Karen Montgomery.


GUEST POST: "A Petulant Child in Montgomery County" // Democratic Precinct Official Condemns MCDCC Protest

Below Maryland Juice publishes a guest post from Matthew Herrmann, a Democratic Party activist, precinct official, and Democratic club official. In the column below, Herrmann condemns a planned protest by labor leaders of the MoCo Democratic Party's spring ball this weekend:
MATTHEW HERRMANN:  "A Petulant Child in Montgomery County"

As a long-time Democratic activist I write in opposition to the proposed boycott of the 2013 Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) fundraiser next week.  As Democrats we all support the basic and fundamental tenants of the union movement.  However, their proposed actions next week are disappointing and an insult to every Democratic activist and voter in Montgomery County.  Unfortunately, their actions resemble a petulant child that has been unable to get their way.

Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO is proposing to boycott the MCDCC annual fundraiser because the MCDCC recommended supporting Question B on the ballot last year.  The referendum upheld a unanimous Montgomery County Council decision to eliminate effects bargaining for the police union – a benefit that did not exist for any other workers in the County or any other union for that matter.  The unions had asked for a referendum to overturn the unanimous decision by the County Council arguing that it greatly diminished their bargaining rights.  As is tradition, the Central Committee called for a meeting of all Democratic activists including precinct chairs, co-chairs, club leaders and other long-time leaders of the party to debate and vote on what position the Democratic party of the county would take on all referendum matters.  When it came to Question B, an overwhelming number of Democratic activists in the party, 109 to 14, voted in support of Question B which upheld the County Council decision to eliminate effects bargaining for the police union.  As is tradition and the general rules of the party, the Central Committee voted to affirm the vote of activists and provided the result of that vote to voters on a sample ballot during last year’s election.

I respect the union’s right to organize and protest this decision by party activists.  In fact, I fight every day to protect that right for unions and individuals.  What I find appalling is that the union is trying to fracture the Democratic Party at an annual event that is critical to the success of the party.  An actual picket line of the annual fundraiser would likely lead to a significant loss of funds for the party and potentially put the party at risk for supporting candidates and initiatives in the upcoming 2014 election. 

The union’s actions are in direct contravention of a significant majority of Democratic activists and nearly 60% of the entire county’s residents.  The union believes that residents of Montgomery County will blindly follow Union positions.  As a long-time resident of the County what I love about my home is that the County is full of contentious and active voters.  They are well aware of the issues that impact them and vote on the value of the issue.  As such, I am also deeply disappointed in some elected officials that have blindly followed the union in boycotting the MCDCC Spring Ball despite the fact that an overwhelming number of activists whom they heavily rely for donations and volunteering supported Question B.  I think many activists will weigh their allegiances in the upcoming election carefully on how elected officials act during this difficult period.

Effects’ bargaining is a unique tool that only the police in the county had authority to utilize and very few other organizations in the U.S.  Despite false rhetoric to the contrary this repeal has no effect on the union’s basic right to organize and bargain for workers conditions and wages.  In fact, it’s ironic that on the same day the union decided to boycott the event the County Council Committee in charge of the union’s wages voted for a 6% pay increase – a well deserved raise given the last several years of fiscal austerity. 

I hope the union will sit down and seriously re-consider its proposed boycott of the annual Democratic Party fundraiser.  The knee jerk reactions to the party activists vote in favor of question b are tantamount to how North Korea reacts to any push for serious Six Party talks to resolve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.  I hope the union leadership will seriously reconsider their picture in light of overwhelming voter and activist support for Question B.  They may not agree with us but the decisions were made on solid facts.  I don’t always agree with the results of referendum in Montgomery County but most party activists support the ultimate decisions of voters in the County and certainly do not hold worthwhile causes hostage after the vote.  The effect of a boycott on the annual fundraiser will only further hurt the union’s efforts in larger policy issues in the coming issues.  I urge the union to recognize the by-product of a fair and transparent democratic process and move on to bigger and more important issues.  Any action to the contrary is merely spiteful and is smack in the face to activists that have, for a long time, fought and supported initiatives that are good for the working man and woman.

Written by:
Matthew Herrmann
Democratic Party Activist – Precinct Official
Democratic Club Official


Friday, May 3, 2013

Unions Picketing MoCo Democratic Party Fundraiser // Anthony Brown, 2014 AG Candidates, Young Dems & More Join Effort

All week Maryland Juice has been hearing murmurs about a possible protest by labor unions at the . It turns out the picket line has been given the green light, and the MCDCC's annual spring ball is now becoming a full-blown political controversy. The today announcing the formation of a picket line (excerpt below):
AFL-CIO: The metro Washington-area labor movement is boycotting – and picketing -- the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s Spring Ball because the Committee took a position in favor of the 2012 Question B referendum, which took away the police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions....
[Metro Council President Jos Williams said] "‘An injury to one is an injury to all’. When the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee decided to support Question B, it not only took sides, it took a position in opposition to organized labor and for that it must pay a price, which in this case is a withdrawal of our – and our friends and allies -- traditional support for the MCDCC Spring Ball, and the establishment of a picket line to publically express our disappointment with the MCDCC.”
Added UFCW 1994 MCGEO president Gino Renne, “Labor will not tolerate being treated as an ATM and foot soldiers for a party which is often indifferent -- and sometimes openly hostile -- to working families in Montgomery county.”

ANTHONY BROWN & BEN CARDIN SUPPORT MCDCC PROTEST // PLUS: SOME DONORS SEEKING REFUNDS - We are now hearing reports of several statewide candidates who are canceling their previous plans to attend the Montgomery County Democrats' spring ball. Additionally, some donors that had previously paid to reserve entire tables are now seeking refunds, which appears to be enraging MoCo Democratic Party officials. This could get ugly, because I'm told that the MCDCC ball is one of the key revenue generators for the MoCo Democratic Party's annual budget. I'm also hearing that the refund requests might not be honored anyway. We shall have to see how this all plays out.

Below Maryland Juice provides statements from several candidates regarding the MCDCC event, along with some background info on what started this conflict. The AFL's statement announcing the picket line also noted that statewide Democratic officials have pledged their support for the labor protest:
AFL-CIO: Senator Ben Cardin (D, MD), Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and the Montgomery County Young Democrats are among those who have announced that they’re honoring a boycott of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s May 11 Spring Ball....

MOCO YOUNG DEMS JOIN PROTEST OF MCDCC - It is interesting to see the Montgomery County Young Democrats participating in this protest, given that their President Dave Kunes is being awarded "Democrat of the Year" at the event. But note that Kunes previously worked for AFSCME.

2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES CANCEL PLANS TO ATTEND BALL - Maryland Juice today received statements from three out of four candidates for Attorney General announcing they will not cross the picket line at the MCDCC ball. Maryland Juice did not receive a response from Del. Aisha Braveboy by the time we posted this entry, but below you can read remarks from State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Bill Frick, along with a press release from Delegate Jon Cardin:

  • STATE SENATOR BRIAN FROSH: I have always valued the support of organized labor and I respect the sanctity of the picket line. I have never crossed a picket line and will not for this event.  Unfortunately, this dispute will prevent me from honoring my dear friend and supporter Madeleine Siegel,  by presenting her with the Rosalie Reilly Lifetime Service Award for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the County Democratic Party.  

  • DELEGATE BILL FRICK: I bought tickets, but won't cross any picket line to use them.


Del. Jon Cardin to Stand with Montgomery County’s Working
Families, Skip Democratic Central Committee Spring Ball

BALTIMORE, MD – Del. Jon Cardin, who is currently laying the groundwork to run for Attorney General, announced today that he would stand in solidarity with Montgomery County’s unions and working families – and not attend this year’s Montgomery County Democratic Central Spring Ball on May 11, 2013.

The Metropolitan Council AFL-CIO and Fraternal Order of Police announced recently that they would boycott the Spring Ball after the Central Committee endorsed Question B on last year’s ballot, which dramatically limited the FOP’s rights to collectively bargain.

“Today and always, I’m proud to stand with the police officers who risk their lives to keep us safe,” Del. Cardin said. “At a time when so many working Marylanders, including our police officers, are having a tough time making ends meet, we should help folks earn a better living – not make it tougher for them to get a fair shake.”

In the Maryland legislature over the past 10 years, Del. Cardin has been a consistent supporter of working families and their right to organize.


BACKGROUND OF THE PROTEST: The original grievance that led to calls for a protest came from Montgomery County's Fraternal Order of Police, who fought with MoCo Democrats over the police officers' "effects bargaining" rights. The County Executive and County Council voted to eliminate these rights, and the police union initiated a referendum (Question B) to fight the policy change during the November 2012 Presidential Election.

But the current conflict with the MCDCC started when MoCo Democrats created and mailed a sample ballot to all registered MoCo Democrats. Their endorsements included a recommendation that Democrats support the elimination of effects bargaining rights. Members of the MCDCC voted overwhelmingly for that recommendation prior to issuing of the sample ballot, and it appears that the FOP is now retaliating against the party for tipping the scales on the issue.

Here's how the FOP described the issue on their (excerpt below):
FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: For over 30 years Montgomery County police officers have collectively bargained over issues critical to us and our families, including the effects of the exercise of management rights.... Repealing effects bargaining will set back police labor relations. It will undermine the purpose of the police collective bargaining law which has kept labor peace for over 30 years....

95% of management decisions do not implicate effects bargaining. Effects bargaining does not impede operational decisions. In the 30 years that effects bargaining has been in place, police operations has run smoothly. In fact, so smoothly, that the county has never utilized the process in the law for resolving a dispute over effects within 50 days.... Don’t be fooled into believing that effects bargaining is about requiring police officers to check their email. It is about requiring us to check email when we are on vacation or in the hospital giving birth....

We police officers are concerned about having the resources and training to do our jobs well. We are concerned about the effects of management decisions that impact our schedules, ability to plan time with our families, our vacations, and our time off. We are concerned about fairness in transfers, assignments, and promotions. For over 30 years that effects bargaining has existed, no call has gone unanswered, no report of crime has gone uninvestigated. Simply put, effects bargaining has had no adverse impact on the public. Federal employees and most private sector employees with collective bargaining have the right to bargain collectively over the effects of the exercise of a management right....


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